Steve Earle & the Dukes (& Duchesses) The Low Highway

Steve Earle & the Dukes (& Duchesses)The Low Highway
In 1986, Steve Earle shook up the country music scene with "Guitar Town," an unabashed celebration of life as a touring musician. With The Low Highway, Earle is back traveling those same roads, but the scenery is much different. His move to NYC from Nashville in 2007 marked a significant softening of his one-time badass image, although throughout The Low Highway, Earle reconnects with America's dark corners, both musically and spiritually. On several tracks, such as "Calico County" and "Burnin' It Down," he puts himself back in the boots of the small-town kid with the odds stacked against him, while on "Invisible" and "Pocket Full of Rain," he powerfully channels his past drug experiences in lines like, "Shakin' like a window girl in Amsterdam." Sonically, the album is relatively unadorned, although fans of his time on the TV show Treme will appreciate the New Orleans bounce of "Love's Gonna Blow My Way" and "After Mardi Gras." Steve Earle doesn't make the same kind of hi-test outlaw country he used to, but The Low Highway shows that his swagger hasn't completely disappeared. (New West)