Thursday, November 20th, 2003
It’s little secret that I’ve been fairly obsessed with the work of Steve Earle for the last while – ironically, since I decided NOT to go to his last show in Toronto this past May (which, incidentally, will rank very high on the 2003 list of regrets). Rarely does a day go by that I don’t have at least one of his albums in my CD wallet at work. I just finished reading his biography Hardcore Troubadour, by Lauren St John. I knew the basics of Earle’s life but to read the whole story in one telling… By all rights, the man should be dead – several times over, no less. The depths to which he sank in the early 90s – homeless and living only to score heroin and crack – was a hole that no one should have been able to escape. But he did, after being incarcerated and forced to go through detox for several months, and then came back to produce arguably the best work of his career.
Listening to anything from acoustic comeback record Train A Comin’ through last year’s ferociously political Jerusalem and understanding the road he took to create them emphasizes the autobiographical aspects of his songs and gives them extra emotional heft. When the man says, “Be careful what you wish for friend/ Because I’ve been to hell and now I’m back again”, you’d do well to pay attention because it’s bloody well true. There’s a terrific fan site for Steve here.
I sometimes wonder how a Chinese-Canadian kid from the suburbs of Toronto gets fixated on country-rock music, but that’s a pondering for another day.
Things aren’t looking good for Michael Jackson. Am I correct in thinking his current predicament differs from the one a decade ago in that last time, he was investigated but never charged, whereas this time they’re ready to arrest him? Make no mistake – I think the guy’s got serious issues, but part of me hopes that the allegations aren’t true, if only to prove wrong those who are always so quick to crucify celebrities and seem to take great pleasure in doing so. It’s a poor thing to take pleasure in the misfortune of others.
np – Emmylou Harris / Stumble Into Grace