Keven's Concert Review: STEVE EARLE – Live in Lethbridge
Published: June 26, 2012 - 9:19am
The bearded country music outlaw icon has been playing a string of unplugged and intimate shows across Western Canada. After seeing his concert firsthand I can without a shadow of a doubt proclaim Steve Earle to be one of music's greatest storytellers - ever.
Steve Earle played to a sold out crowd of a couple hundred fans at Lethbridge, Alberta Canada's Yates Memorial Theatre June 12, 2012. The country music vet took to the stage to play a plethora of hits throughout his long and storied career, thankfully including numerous tracks from his new and stellar album 'I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive'. The vibe over the course of the evening was extremely up close and personal.
Before kicking into an amazing performance of 'I Ain't Ever Satisfied', Earle told a story of how in Scotland they've transformed the track into a soccer anthem. He then proceeded to compare the crowds there to the film Braveheart saying, "When you hear them singing that part, you think they're f***ing coming at you." Perhaps the biggest highlight of the evening was just listening to Earle talk between songs. It's not hard to figure out why Earle is such a good actor (see HBO's The Wire and Treme), because he completely captures your attention whenever he opens his mouth. His story about how his classic song 'The Devil's Right Hand' ended up becoming a gun control statement due to his teenage son swiping one of his firearms was fascinating.
Even though Earle absolutely blew me away with stripped down versions of 'Copperhead Road' and 'Guitar Town' to close out the show, it was a brand new song that grabbed me the most. After revealing that his latest album will debut in Spring 2013, the singer confirmed that this new song would definitely be appearing on the record. Earle then began to perform the track, which goes into amazing detail on how he plans to burn the local Wal-Mart down. The song was hilarious, dark and a brilliant anthem on today's modern consumer. I can't wait to hear the studio version and get the new album ASAP.
You knew with Earle being the outspoken political activist that he is, would have some interesting dialog with the crowd. It was funny when he dedicated "Little Emperor" to "W and his f***ing horse. The way Earle manages to suck you into every word he says on that stage is a masterful form of art. I was hypnotized during the songs and captivated by his speeches between the music.
The concert was a stellar and unforgettable experience and Earle's haunting songs spoke to me on a level I didn't know existed. When he sang about being too high to be there for his kids or he told the tale of a man facing the death penalty, you could literally feel ever chord and verse's impact to the point of beautiful agony. Steve Earle was funny, dead serious and above all else a true music warrior who has went through hell and back to cement himself as one of the best country musicians of all time. The outlaw is strong as ever and I can't recommend enough checking out his unplugged tour.
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Note: All Photos taken by Keven Skinner