Sheridan Opera House: “An Evening With Steve Earle"

”An Evening with Steve Earle” takes place Tuesday, October 4, 2016 at Telluride’s Sheridan Opera House. Tickets go on sale Thursday, August 25, at noon. Tickets are $50 and $65 (reserved seats) here. Or call 970-728-6363 ext. 5.

Stee Earle

Steve Earle

Just before Steve Earle was born, January 17, 1955 in Fort Monroe, where his dad was stationed as an air traffic controller, the family dispatched a delegation to Virginia with a small Prince Albert tobacco tin of Lone Star dirt from the farm. The dirt was spread in a flat pan and just after his first breath, the little guy was held up and his feet imprinted in the imported soil. While the Earles reluctantly accepted a Virginia birth certificate, Steve’s granddaddy and uncles were satisfied that the first dirt his feet every touched was pure Texan.

The red dirt boy grew up to become a troubadour, who learned his craft from two other Lone Star legends: Guy Clark and the renegade Townes Van Zandt, who helped develop Earle’s talents as a songwriter, country singer, and hard-strumming guitarist.

While still a teen, Earle toured with Clark’s band playing bass. Clark, he says, taught him the construction of a tune’s structural tricks, internal rhymes and other things that, in the end, separate a really good songwriter from a hack.

Of Townes, 12 years ago Earle told me: “He never showed me anything directly about writing songs. What I learned from him was that it is possible to do something because it is worthwhile and important, even if it’s only important to you, and whether you make money or not. I watched him do that all his life.”

Since he came on the scene in 1986, Steve Earle has been labeled an iconoclast– although his best music embraces America’s roots in Appalachian and folk music. From his days as a Nashville country singer to his work as a latter-day protest musician, Earle’s music has evoked the conflicted lives and loves of ordinary America.

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On the 16th studio album of his singular career, Terraplane, Earle pays tribute to the blues, influenced by the blues giants he saw growing up in Texas – Lightnin’ Hopkins, Freddy King, Johnny Winter, Jimmie and Stevie Ray Vaughan, Canned Heat and Billy Gibbons. Recorded in Nashville by Ray Kennedy and produced by R.S. Field, the inspired collection is his homage to the music he calls “the commonest of human experience, perhaps the only thing that we all truly share” and a record he has wanted to make for a long time. Over 11 original tracks, Earle and his longstanding band The Dukes traverse various forms of the blues – from the Texas roadhouse blues of opener “Baby Baby Baby (Baby)” to the acoustic blues of “Ain’t Nobody’s Daddy Now” and the Chicago blues of “The Usual Time” to the pre-war blues of “Baby’s Just As Mean As Me,” a duet with Eleanor Whitmore.

Described by Mojo as “Earle’s passion for blues in its rawest form,” Terraplane has received near universal acclaim and been embraced by the blues community.

Downbeat exclaimed, “The once hard- living maverick sings with deep knowledge of the dark and light sides of human experience, running his emotional engine at full-throttle while sustaining the crucial ambivalence of the blues… Earle’s ace band, the Dukes, plays for keeps.”

London’s Express & Star gushed, “It’s like Robert Johnson meets Johnny Cash – and it’s a truly stunning work.”

Rolling Stone described Terraplane “down-home Texas blues party.”

At the Sheridan Opera House, Steve Earle performs solo.

Below is a track from Terraplane:

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