Steve Earle Just an American Boy: The Audio Documentary

After listening to this album, I understand now why so-called American "patriots” all picked on the Dixie Chicks this year; they knew they couldn’t touch Steve Earle. No other American artist has thus far put forth such a convincing argument against the Bush agenda through his work, and his views will undoubtedly get more meaningful the longer this lunacy continues. But until his next statement is ready, we have this double live album, the audio complement to the tour documentary that debuted at this year’s North by Northeast Festival in Toronto. While details of where the songs were recorded aren’t included, the performance and the on-stage banter is fairly similar to the show I saw this summer, one constructed around the strong sentiments of his last album, Jerusalem. Likewise, there are few frivolous moments on Just an American Boy, as each track signifies how much Earle has transformed himself into a political animal in the last few years. Even the tried and true stand-bys "Guitar Town” and "Copperhead Road” possess new venom in this context. And while "What’s So Funny About Peace, Love & Understanding” has been delivered half-heartedly by far too many others of late, Earle attacks it as a show-closer as if everything he’s said prior to it can’t hold a candle to Nick Lowe’s simple message. Just an American Boy deserves to earn Earle America’s highest honour for patriotism. But of course, that will have to wait until there’s a government in place that once again understands what that means. (E-Squared)