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Album, novel part of busy year for Steve Earle

for Journal Register Newspapers

Posted: Friday, July 29, 2011

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Singer-songwriter Steve Earle’s latest album, “I’ll Never Get Out of This World Alive,” shares a title with a novel he published this year. But he says that was not by design.

“I didn’t go into the studio knowing what this record was about or what it would be called,” explains Earle, 56, who also has a role on the HBO New Orleans-based series “Treme.”

“But when I got it all together and started listening to it, I realized the songs were kind of about the same thing the book was about, which is mortality. So we just kind of went that way.”

The album — which Earle acknowledges marked “the longest I’ve ever taken to write a record” — follows Earle’s Grammy Award-winning 2009 tribute to Townes Van Zandt, “Townes,” and was recorded in five days just before Thanksgiving 2010 with producer T-Bone Burnett in Los Angeles. Earle was impressed by Burnett’s recent work, particularly the Robert Plant-Alison Krauss “Raising Sand” album, and after having a hand in producing most of his albums he wanted to let someone else have the wheel of this project.

“I didn’t want to be a producer this time,” explains Earle, who’s touring with a band that includes his wife and fellow artist Allison Moorer. “I didn’t want to expend any energy doing that. I wanted to be a singer and a songwriter and concentrate on that and let (Burnett) take care of everything else.

“I wrote ’til the last minute and tweaked the lyrics right up until I sang them. I think that calculation worked. I’m pretty proud of this record.”

Steve Earle and the Dukes (and Duchesses) featuring Allison Moorer perform Saturday, July 30, at the Majestic Theatre, 4140 Woodward Ave., Detroit. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $25. Call 313-833-9700 or visit www.majesticdetroit.com.

Web Site: www.majesticdetroit.com

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