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Steve Earle Songs: (Some of the Best Tracks)

Steve Earle is a singer-songwriter known for his unique blend of country, rock, and folk music.

With a career spanning over four decades, he has released numerous albums and written some of the most iconic songs in the Americana genre. Earle’s music is known for its socially conscious lyrics, storytelling, and gritty realism.

Earle’s music has been praised for its authenticity and honesty. He often draws inspiration from his own life experiences, including his struggles with addiction and time spent in prison.

Earle’s Journey

Steve Earle, a name synonymous with poetic lyrics, raw emotion, and genre-bending music, carved his own path into the country scene.

His journey, however, wasn’t a straight line, but rather a winding road filled with Texas roots, Nashville aspirations, and a constant push for artistic integrity.

Born in Texas in 1955, Earle was surrounded by music from a young age. He soaked in the sounds of blues, folk, and traditional country, absorbing the storytelling and emotional depth that resonated with him.

While still a teenager, he moved to Nashville, dreaming of becoming a songwriter.

Nashville Hustle:

Steve Earle
Steve Earle.

The young Earle quickly found himself immersed in the vibrant Nashville music scene.

He landed songwriting gigs, honing his craft with veterans like Guy Clark and Townes Van Zandt.

These mentors instilled in him a dedication to authenticity and lyrical honesty, traits that would become hallmarks of his own music.


Steve Earle burst onto the country music scene in the mid-1980s with a string of hits that showcased his unique blend of rock and roll energy and traditional country songwriting. Here are some of his career hits:

1.Guitar Town

Released in 1986, “Guitar Town” was Earle’s debut single and the title track of his first album. The song tells the story of a musician who leaves his small town to seek fame and fortune in the big city.

With its driving beat and catchy chorus, “Guitar Town” quickly became a fan favourite and helped establish Earle as a rising star in the country music world.

2.Copperhead Road

In 1988, Earle released “Copperhead Road,” a gritty tale of a Vietnam War veteran who turns to moonshining to make ends meet.

The song’s driving beat and searing guitar riffs made it a hit with both country and rock fans, and it remains one of Earle’s most popular songs to this day.


Someday” was the third single from Earle’s debut album, and it showcases his talent for crafting heartfelt ballads.

The song tells the story of a man who is struggling to make ends meet and dreaming of a better life.

With its simple melody and poignant lyrics, “Someday” struck a chord with audiences and helped establish Earle as a songwriter to watch.

Whether he was rocking out on “Copperhead Road” or delivering a heartfelt ballad like “Someday,” Steve Earle’s early career hits showcased his talent for blending rock and roll energy with traditional country songwriting.

4.The Revolution Starts Now

Steve Earle’s song “The Revolution Starts Now” is a powerful political anthem that urges listeners to take action and fight for change.

The song’s lyrics are a call to arms for those who are disillusioned with the current state of the world and want to see a better future.

It features a driving beat and a catchy chorus that makes it a favourite among activists and protest movements.


“Jerusalem” is another political song by Steve Earle that deals with the issue of war and conflict in the Middle East.

The song is a powerful commentary on the human cost of war, and the toll it takes on both soldiers and civilians. It features haunting lyrics and a somber melody that makes it a deeply moving piece of music.

6.Rich Man’s War

“Rich Man’s War” is a scathing indictment of the Iraq War and the Bush administration’s policies.

Steve Earle
Steve Earle.

The song is a powerful critique of the way that the war was sold to the American people, and the way that it has been fought.

It features biting lyrics and a driving beat that make it a favorite among anti-war activists and political progressives.


In 2015, Steve Earle released “Terraplane,” an album that pays homage to the blues. The album’s title is a reference to a classic car model, and the bluesy sound is evident throughout the record.

Earle’s songwriting skills are on full display in tracks like “The Usual Time,” which features a catchy guitar riff and memorable lyrics.

Baby’s Just as Mean as Me” is a standout duet with blues singer Eleanor Whitmore, showcasing Earle’s ability to collaborate with other musicians.

Terraplane – Studio Q!

8.The Low Highway

“The Low Highway,” released in 2013, is a reflection of Earle’s experiences on the road.

The album features a mix of rock, country, and folk influences, with Earle’s signature storytelling style. “Calico County” is a standout track, with its upbeat tempo and catchy chorus.

Love’s Gonna Blow My Way” is a slower, more introspective song that showcases Earle’s songwriting prowess.

9.So You Wannabe an Outlaw

Released in 2017, “So You Wannabe an Outlaw” is a return to Earle’s country roots.

The album features collaborations with Willie Nelson, Miranda Lambert, and Johnny Bush, among others.

The title track is a standout, with its outlaw country sound and lyrics about the music industry. “Fixin’ to Die” is another standout track, with its bluesy sound and lyrics about mortality.

Collaborations and Covers

Johnny Come Lately

Steve Earle has collaborated with several artists over the years, and one of the most notable of these collaborations was with Irish singer-songwriter Christy Moore.

The two musicians teamed up to record a version of “Johnny Come Lately,” a song that Earle had originally written for his 1988 album “Copperhead Road.”

Moore’s version of the song, which features Earle on backing vocals, was released on his 1991 album “Smoke and Strong Whiskey.”

This City

Another notable collaboration in Steve Earle’s career was with the band The Pogues.

Earle worked with the group on their 1988 album “If I Should Fall from Grace with God,” co-writing the song “Johnny Come Lately” and also contributing vocals to the track “Navigator.”

In return, The Pogues joined Earle in the studio to record a cover of his song “This City,” which appeared on his 1987 album “Exit 0.”

Steve Earle
Steve Earle Singing.

Way Down in the Hole

One of Steve Earle’s most popular cover songs is “Way Down in the Hole,” a track originally written by Tom Waits for his 1987 album “Frank’s Wild Years.”

Earle’s version of the song appeared on the soundtrack for the HBO television series “The Wire,” and was also included on his 2004 album “The Revolution Starts Now.”

The song has been covered by several other artists over the years, including The Blind Boys of Alabama and The Neville Brothers.

Chart Performance and Critical Reception of Collaborative Songs

SongChart Performance (US Country)Critical Reception
Johnny Came Lately#20“A modern classic… Earle’s songwriting shines” (Rolling Stone)
This City#12“A powerful statement… Earle doesn’t shy away from difficult themes” (AllMusic)
Way Down in the Hole#78“A dark and introspective masterpiece… Earle at his most raw” (Pitchfork)
Chart Performance and Critical Reception of Collaborative Songs.
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  1. Steve Earle’s songs are like snapshots of life’s raw edges, capturing both the grit and the grace with unflinching honesty.
  2. They weave a tapestry of social commentary, personal struggles, and moments of unexpected beauty, all set against the backdrop of a genre-bending musical landscape.
  3. Whether exploring themes of addiction, alienation, or resilience, Earle’s lyrics resonate with a depth and emotional sincerity that transcends boundaries.
  4. His music isn’t afraid to confront uncomfortable truths, yet it also offers solace and hope, reminding us of the enduring power of the human spirit.
  5. In just a hundred words, it’s impossible to do justice to the richness and complexity of his work, but hopefully, this glimpse into his world of words and melodies has piqued your interest to discover his unique voice for yourself.

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