Everything that would usually carry negative connotations (that could easily be accused of being crass and cheesy) works on Steve Earle’s new album. Recently divorced from his sixth wife, Allison Moorer, Earle has made a blues album.
Terraplane (not quite Terraplane Blues, like the Robert Johnson song, but named after the car) is a raunchy, electrified, countrified romp through splitsville, replete with a paean to casual sex (The Usual Time) and a song about missing intimacy, which rides a Howlin’ Wolf-derived lick (You’re The Best Lover That I Ever Had).
Earle says he had Texans like Freddy King and Lightnin’ Hopkins in mind, but in at least one instance – the plaintive ballad Better Off Alone – it sounds like he’s also borrowed from his son Justin Townes Earle.
Terraplane’s saving grace is that it’s fun to listen to and full of swagger. Earle’s captured the ragged, heady, faux-carefree vibe of newfound singledom (Ain’t Nobody’s Daddy Now), and Dukes violinist Eleanor Whitmore shines on endearing duet Baby’s Just As Mean As Me.
Top track: Baby’s Just As Mean As Me
Listen to Baby Baby Baby and You’re The Best Lover That I Ever Had here.
Win a pair of tickets to see Steve Earle & The Dukes on September 27th at Massey Hall here!