Steve Earle and the Dukes: The Hard Way
This forgotten masterpiece was Steve Earle’s fourth release for the MCA Companies. Released in 1990, this was the follow up to another Steve Earle classic “Copperhead Road” and continued his tough stance image.
During the recording of these pieces of music, it was well documented that Steve Earle was in the deepest of his heroin addict and his mind frame was in the deepest of places. This is well documented here in the darkness of the songs given to us.
His addictions did nothing to diminish the natural ability to write what needed to be written and say what did need to be said. It is said that if you want to know how an artist like this is feeling just listen to the art they make and this is very true here with a wide range of emotions. Steve Earle was feeling transient in “This Highway’s Mine” and “West Nashville Boogie”, romantic in “Promise You Anything”, “Close Your Eyes”, “Hopeless Romantics”, brutal emotions towards justice system, “Billy Austin” and “Justice in Ontario”, and a bit nostalgic, “The Other Kind.”
There have been a lot of arguments throughout the years on whether or not Steve Earle was country or rock. This recording demonstrated that his heart was in between and would stay there. Unfortunately, this way the last piece of new music of Steve Earle for a few years as his demons overtook him.
Through it all, Steve Earle’s The Hard Way gave us honesty and that is a worth listen at any time.
Four twangs out of Five.