Steve Earle has described himself as a redneck socialist. His music lies somewhere at the nexus of country, Americana, and rock, and is often concerned with social justice, and related themes. He had some battles with drugs (haven’t we all) and got clean and sober for keeps while in jail. I have friends who used to go to his gigs during Earle’s worst days because a) they loved his music and b) to see if he’d get through the set without od’ing. So, a he’s survivor. And, my God, can he write and sing.
“Invisible,” from the upcoming album, is about the homeless and how they are invisible to us.
Copperhead Road is one of his best known songs. It’s about a Vietnam vet whose father and grandfather were bootleggers.
I volunteered for the Army on my birthday
They draft the white trash first,’round here anyway
I done two tours of duty in Vietnam
And I came home with a brand new plan
I take the seed from Colombia and Mexico
I plant it up the holler down Copperhead Road
Well the D.E.A.’s got a chopper in the air
I wake up screaming like I’m back over there
I learned a thing or two from ol’ Charlie don’t you know
You better stay away from Copperhead Road