micah holmquist's irregular thoughts and links
Welcome to the musings and notes of a Cadillac, Michigan based writer named Micah Holmquist, who is bothered by his own sarcasm.
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Saturday, August 17, 2002
I've been listening to the preview of Steve Earle's Jerusalem that I mentioned in today's second entry. It's good stuff with plenty of the angry energy and stark imagery that Earle specializes in.
Although "Conspiracy Theory" features an R&B chorus in its narrative about the malicious uses of power, musically Jerusalem isn't a step forward for Earle like The Mountain and Transcendental Blues were. The songs are mostly variations of the lumbering rockers that have populate his material before but the lyrics are plenty potent. The title cut looks at "death machines" and the tensions between Palestinians and Israelis but still holds on to optimism. "Ashes to Ashes" is a warning for empires while "I Remember You" is a ballad about love that features Emmylou Harris on vocals. The best tracks on Earle's album are often the obligatory duets but "I Remeber You," as good as it is," doesn't hold a candle with the infamous "John Walker's Blues." There, searing guitar distortion and agonized vocals chronicle why an American kid would join the Taliban. It may be the strongest post 9-11 musical statement created yet.
It's impossible to fairly judge an album after hearing less than half the tracks but this looks like it could be good stuff and proof that Earle remains the most interesting musician who works with a guitar.
Click here for a review I did of a February 23, 2001 Earle concert.