Live Review: Steve Earle Brings No-Frills Country-Rock to Chattanooga (October 24th, 2013)

Steve Earle

I have to admit, I was late to the Steve Earle show this past Thursday at Chattanooga, Tennessee’s Track 29. In fact, I missed the whole opening act. I can’t even tell you who it was. But it doesn’t matter because Earle gave a hell of a performance, playing songs from his new album, The Low Highway, as well as stuff from his classic catalogue. And he performed not one but two encores.

Backed by his band The Dukes with special guests The Mastersons, Earle played for two hours and 40 minutes — which made me glad this was a seated show. Wearing blue jeans, a light blue oxford shirt, and his now-signature beard, he entertained the crowd between songs with stories of life on the road, his drug days (He’s been sober 19 years), and his views on political topics such as gun control. He also talked a lot about New Orleans, a place he’s visited frequently the past three years and which influenced his new album.

Steve Earle 2

As the night went on, the crowd migrated toward the stage, and many people were dancing in the aisles, which Earle seemed to welcome. Because that’s what Earle does best – he relates to his fans. A true showman, he was humble and sincere in his gratitude, admitting that it was because of us that he was able to do what he loves. Because, in his own words, “Just because you’re rich, doesn’t mean you have to be an asshole.” Now, I don’t know if Earle is rich. But if he is, he knows how to relate to common folk. And that’s why people love him. Also, that’s probably why so many men in the crowd sported beards. Seriously, it was more beards than I had ever seen collected into one place. It was amazing.

At the end of the evening, it was just Earle on stage. He raised his fist in the air, bowed to the audience, shook hands with people in the front row, and disappeared into the backstage darkness.

Set List

Low Highway
21st Century
Calico County
I Thought You Should Know
That All You Got
Love’s Gonna Blow
After Mardi Gras
Pocketful of Rain
This City
Ben Mccullogh
You’re Still Standing There
Burnin It Down
Guitar Town
Copperhead Road
Ricky Skaggs
Free Men
Warren Hellman’s Banjo
Little Emperor
Billy & Bonnie
Mystery Train Pt. 2
The Galway Girl
Down the Road Pt II/ Down the Road

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