Steve Earle – Live at Montreaux 2005

But not all the time. This is acoustic Steve, just him and his geetar and his harmonickey and obviously singing, but it’s not correct. Now, normalcy I likey my acoustic songs, see my review of that album with Townes and Guy, but Steve’s not one of them. I like his band too much, and I’m highly partial to his louder songs. The acoustic ones that I do love – “Goodbye” and “Tom Ames’ Prayer” to name a couple, are not here. Instead the material’s heavy on the anti-war and social justice-y ones, which sound especially hackneyed in this setting, especially with Steve sounding like he’s rushing through too much of the material here.

I don’t know, Steve’s much, much more than an aging hippie Dylan wannabe, and that’s what he seems like here. The best songs aren’t here, he sounds understandably tired of playing the old stuff (he should really give “Copperhead Road” a break from being the big crowd-pleaser every time). Luckily, this was just a minor catalogue note, so we can get back to Steve being great.

There is, mind you, one great, great moment here: it comes at the end of “Condi, Condi,” the funny love song to Condoleeza Rice (not a protest song at all). At the end he hells “I love that bitch!” then immediately jumps into the next song. Ahh, what a moment. Unfortunately the next song is “The Mountain,” which really misses its bluegrass band. Right then, move along.

4/10

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