It’s shaping up to be a banner year for legendary alternative country icon Steve Earle. The 60-year-old Virginia native’s memoirs, “I Can’t Remember If We Said Goodbye,” will be published later this year and he’s back with a terrific new album featuring longtime band The Dukes (Kelly Looney, Will Rigby, Chris Masterson and Eleanor Whitmore).
“Terraplane” marks Earle’s 16th studio effort and is a fitting successor to 2013 gem “The Low Highway.” A blues album in every sense of the word, Earle drew inspiration from the likes of Robert Johnson, Freddy King, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Johnny Winter and Stevie Ray Vaughan when putting the 11-track release together.
“I’ve only ever believed two things about the blues,” Earle explains. “One, that they are very democratic, the commonest of human experience, perhaps the only thing that we all truly share. And two, that one day, when it was time, I would make this record.”
Earle & The Dukes set the tone of “Terraplane” with opening cuts “Baby Baby Baby (Baby)” and “You’re the Best Lover That I Ever Had,” and later sizzle on “Acquainted With the Wind,” personal favorite “Baby’s Just as Mean as Me” (with Whitmore assuming co-vocal duties) and “King of the Blues.” It’s nice to know that Earle remains just as vibrant and vital as ever. (Jeffrey Sisk)