steve

Steve Kimock News: Summer Dates & More

Kimock's on the boat! We are thrilled to join Jam Cruise 8 and so many great musicians on board this musical adventure.

kimockJam Cruise 8 sets sail January 3-8, 2010 on the beautiful Italian ship: MSC Poesia. The ship leaves from Ft Lauderdale's Port Everglades and heads to Ocho Rios, Jamaica & George Town, Cayman Islands.

Public on-sale will be in June 4th. We want to make sure that our fans don't miss out! One of the best features of the Poesia is the ABUNDANCE OF double occupancy cabins with standard & large balconies.

Hope to have you on board!

May 23 - Hookahville - Thornville, OH *
June 4 - Wakarusa - Ozark, AR *
June 6-7 Mountains of the Moon Festival - Salmo, BC
June 12 - Harmony Festival - Santa Rosa, CA
June 16 Old Rock House - St. Louis, MO
July 3 - Grateful Fest - Nelson Ledges, OH
July 4-5 - High Sierra Music Festival - Quincy, CA
July 8 Port City Music Hall - Portland, ME
July 9 Rocks Off Concert Cruise - NY, NY
July 10 Sherman Theater - Stroudsburg, PA
July 11 - All Good Music Festival - Masontown, WV
July 24 - 10K Lakes Music Festival - Soo Pass Ranch, MN
Aug 14 Stone Pony - Asbury Park, NJ
Aug 15 A Bear's Picnic - Laurelton, PA
Nov 14 Bear Creek Music Fest - Live Oak, FL
Jan 3-8 - Jam Cruise 8 - Caribbean Ocean

* w/ George Porter Jr
*Kimock will also play a late night at Wakarusa with Praang featuring members of EOTO and Jamie Janover)

Steve Kimock w/ Everyone Orchestra and more!
May 12 - Daze Between Fest - San Francisco, CA
June 20 - Church of Universal Love & Music - Acme, PA


Kimock will be making a special appearance with Everyone Orchestra on May 12th at the Daze Between Fest at the Mission Rock Café in San Francisco, CA. Kimock will appear late night from around midnight until 4AM.

Also playing are members of Hot Buttered Rum and ALO plus Melvin Seals, Wally Ingram, Chris Haugen, Mike Sugar, Audio Angel, conducted by Matt Butler, and a whole lot more...also featuring live painting by Alex and Allyson Grey and the return of the Furthur Bus with lots of hipsters, tricksters and pranksters. The festivities will begin at 8pm and continue through the dawn. Are you on the bus?!

A.T. Furthur: Daze Between is an eclectic art gathering celebrating the legacy of Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters in the mid-60s. The original Prankster Acid Tests were created as multi-media art parties where exciting, new, and still legal entheogens were imbibed in the spirit of breaking new creative ground.

Don't miss Wakarusa! Final chance to buy cheap tickets!

With multiple stages featuring great live music over four days from June 4-7, Wakarusa is a serious music festival. The 2009 lineup features nearly 100 bands playing over 125 sets. With Full Event passes currently available for $139, you can enjoy a full weekend at Wakarusa for just over $1 per set! Get your Full Event Passes now! For a complete list of all ticket and camping options, including VIP, visit www.wakarusa.com.

Steve Kimock Crazy Engine will be playing main stage on Thursday, June 4th and there is a special late-night performance with Praang (Kimock, Travis, Hann, Janover).

Don't miss Wakarusa 2009 at a fantastic new venue, Mulberry Mountain! With shade trees, float streams and waterfalls, Mulberry Mountain is an absolutely beautiful setting for 4 days of music and activities!

Steve Kimock Crazy Engine feat. Melvin Seals @ Tips FQ!

Please join us on Friday, May 1st at Tipitina's French Quarter with a performance by "The Guitar Monk" Steve Kimock and his new band Crazy Engine featuring Melvin Seals.

kimockSteve Kimock is one of today's most talented guitarists and composers, a master musician known for his uncanny ability to balance passion and power with soaring grace. Truly a Renaissance man, Kimock's guitar prowess has been heard in dozens of bands and special guest appearances including many Grateful Dead-family bands. For nearly four decades Steve Kimock has earned a reputation as a guitarist with an enlightened approach to melodic improvisation and has captured audiences from around the globe with his tasteful guitar speak and brilliant tone. Relix magazine recently dubbed Steve Kimock "The Guitar Monk" for his relentless pursuit of 'Zen and the art of guitar.'

Exploring a new direction, Crazy Engine is a Steve Kimock project unlike any other. The long-awaited new nationally touring band features legendary Hammond B3 wizard, Melvin Seals, best known for his work with the Jerry Garcia Band, and Kimock's son John Morgan Kimock on drums. This is Steve Kimock unleashed, pushing the limits of rock and roll, rhythm and blues, gospel and soul for undeniably feel-good music.

Don't miss this incendiary musical performance at Tipitina's French Quarter!

And remember, this year the Backbeat Jazzfest Series will be offering music lovers and the musicians they love smoke-free environments at all shows.

Advance tickets are $25 and can be purchased at www.backbeatpresents.com or www.ticketweb.com.

Additional details and information about the events can be found at www.backbeatfoundation.org or by visiting the Foundation's Myspace and Facebook. Additional information and updates about the series can be found at the Backbeat Jazzfest Series 2009 group page.

For information about please visit www.kimock.com. To find out more about please visit www.myspace.com/melvinsealsandjgb.

The Louisiana Campaign for Tobacco-Free Living (TFL) and the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals Tobacco Control Program (LTCP) coordinate their efforts in tobacco prevention and control by providing statewide coordination of existing tobacco control initiatives, funding innovative community programs for tobacco control, and improve the overall health and quality of life in Louisiana. For more information visit, www.tobaccofreeliving.org.

Steve Kimock Crazy Engine Heads East

Steve Kimock will be hitting the road this spring with his new project Steve Kimock Crazy Engine. Exploring a new direction, Crazy Engine is a Steve Kimock project unlike any other. Pushing the boundaries of rock and roll, rhythm and blues, gospel and soul, the repertoire will include Kimock classics as well as an energized catalogue of covers and fresh material.

For nearly four decades Steve Kimock has earned a reputation as a guitarist with an enlightened approach to melodic improvisation and has captured audiences from around the globe with his tasteful guitar speak and brilliant tone. Labeled the “guitar monk” by Relix Magazine for his relentless pursuit of the art of guitar, Steve Kimock blends all of his influences, capturing the spirit of the music wherever he goes, while tuning into sounds from some unseen dimensions.

The long-awaited project will also feature legendary Hammond B3 player, Melvin Seals, best known for his work with the Jerry Garcia Band. The glistening new line up also includes the cookin’ rhythm section of Janis Wallin on bass (Family Groove Company) and Kimock’s own son, John Morgan Kimock on drums. Rounding out the configuration with their soulful crooning are “The Girls” on vocals, featuring Cheryl Rucker and Shirley Starks (Melvin Seals and JGB).

Crazy Engine will begin the ride on the West Coast in late March of 2009. With dates filling in quickly from coast to coast, there is no stopping the tour-de-force that moves Steve Kimock and his dynamic band.

For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit http://www.kimock.com.

TOUR DATES:
April 16 Higher Ground - Burlington, VT
April 17 Fairfield Theatre - Fairfield, CT
April 18 BB Kings Blues Club - NYC, NY
April 19 State Theatre - Falls Church, VA
April 20 Ramshead - Annapolis, MD
Aprill 22 Visulite - Charlotte, NC
April 23 Pour House - Charleston, SC
April 24-25 Revolution* - Ft. Lauderdale, FL
April 26 Skippers Smokehouse - Tampa, FL
April 28 Georgia Theatre - Athens, GA
April 29 Workplay Theatre - Birmingham, AL
April 30 Tipitinas Uptown - New Orleans, LA
May 1 Tipitinas French Quarter - NO, LA
*venue change from City Limits

Steve Kimock & Crazy Engine Added to more Fests

In addition to the previously announced All Good, Wakarusa, Grateful Fest and Hookahville festivals, Steve Kimock Crazy Engine has been added to the line-up of High Sierra, Harmony Festival, 10K Lakes, and Bear Creek. It's going to be a memorable 2009 with this band... so get on board now!

Mar 26 Crystal Bay - Crystal Bay, NV
Mar 27-28 Great American Music Hall - SF, CA
Mar 29 Mystic Theatre - Petaluma, CA
Mar 31-April 1 Red Fox Tavern - Eureka, CA
April 2 The Domino Room - Bend, OR
April 3 Aladdin Theatre - Portland, OR
April 4 McDonald Theatre - Eugene, OR
April 5 Big Room @ Sierra Brewing Co –Chico, CA
April 16 Higher Ground - Burlington, VT
April 17 Fairfield Theatre - Fairfield, CT
April 18 BB Kings Blues Club - NYC, NY
April 19 State Theatre - Falls Church, VA
April 20 Ramshead - Annapolis, MD
April 22 Visulite - Charlotte, NC
April 23 Pour House - Charleston, SC
April 24-25 City Limits - Delray, FL
April 26 Skippers Smokehouse - Tampa, FL
April 28 Georgia Theatre - Athens, GA
April 29 Workplay Theatre - Birmingham, AL
April 30 Tipitina’s Uptown - New Orleans, LA
May 1 Tipitina’s French Quarter – New Orleans, LA
June 6-7 Toad Rock Campground – Balfour/Ainsworth BC
June 16 Old Rock House – St. Louis, Mo

FESTIVALS:
May 23 Hookahville- Thornville, OH **
June 4 Wakarusa - Ozark, AR
June 12 Harmony - Santa Rosa, CA
July 3 Grateful Fest - Nelson Ledges, OH
July 4-5 High Sierra- Quincy, CA
July 11 All Good Festival - Masontown, WV
July 24 10K Lakes- Soo Pass Ranch, MN
Aug 15 Bears Picnic – Milton, PA
Nov 14 Bear Creek - Live Oak, FL
More summer dates to be announced soon!

**w/ George Porter Jr.!

Steve Kimock and Friends Pen Second Night at The NorVa

photo by Tawny- for the Grateful Web

After an initial sell out, Passion Presents Steve Kimock and Friends for a second night performance at the NorVa Theater in the heart of Norfolk, VA. The exclusive appearance will also feature legendary Hammond B3 player, Melvin Seals, among other distinctive surprise guests. The two-night event takes place on March 7th and March 8th, slated to coincide with the Phish reunion shows at nearby Hampton Coliseum.  $1 of all tickets sold on the March 8th show will go to support the Rex Foundation.

Steve Kimock & Friends featuring Melvin Seals
March 7th & 8th
NorVa Theater - Norfork, VA
www.thenorva.com
Show: 12:00AM

Marking Kimock's first shows of 2009, this weekend event promises to bring some great new performers to the stage for the first time under the Steve Kimock & Friends moniker. With a number of scheduled concerts in the area, lips are sealed on who will actually take the stage at either show. This special event preludes the launch of his new band Steve Kimock Crazy Engine, whose national tour begins in subsequent weeks.  

Steve Kimock has performed in an evolving line-up of "friends" since the early 90's that have featured such guests as Keller WilliamsJeff Sipe, George Porter Jr, Donna Jean-Godchaux, Merl Saunders, Martin Fierro, Reed Mathis, Kyle Hollingsworth, Robert Walter, Pete Sears, John Molo and even Michael Franti. While each event has been entirely unique and in the moment, there is no doubt that SK&F continues to stand the test of time with Kimock continuing to mesmerize audiences with his inspired guitar speak. Event organizers at Passion Presents, who are also celebrating their five-year anniversary in conjunction with this event, are encouraging music fans to buy their tickets in advance. Single night tickets for March 7th are sold out; however, there are a limited number of weekend passes now available, along with tickets for March 8th, at www.kimock.com

For 5 years Passion Presents has been Humboldt County, California's comprehensive music production company featuring high grade sound, an exhilarating line up of events, persistent dedication to the enrichment of our community, and an unparalleled devotion to fans.  Their 5th Anniversary allows them to revisit and reconfirm their mission statement. As of press time, Passion Presents owner, Steve Watts, has finished serving three years on the Arcata Board of Directors, in an executive capacity, along with the Arcata Economic Development Committee, and the Arcata Main Street Board of Directors. He currently serves as the city's events liaison for their 4th of July festivities and annual Oysterfest. 2009 also sees Passion Presents co-owner, Mathew Beck, returning as the Touring Director of Phish's non-profit organization, The Waterwheel Foundation. Passion Presents is proud to support the Rex Foundation in 2009 through several upcoming events, including donating $1 of every ticket sold for the 5th Anniversary Celebration at The NorVa in Norfolk, VA on Sunday, March 8th, as well as for Steve Kimock Crazy Engine at the Red Fox Tavern March 31st & April 1st.  Passion Presents is proud to reaffirm their commitment to working with non-profit organizations.

Backyard Tire Fire To Record w/ Steve Berlin | New Tour Dates

Photo by Brad Hodge- for the Grateful Web

Backyard Tire Fire return to the studio next month to begin work on the follow up to their critically-acclaimed 2008 release, The Places We Lived. They'll be joined by Grammy Award-winning producer Steve Berlin behind the boards. Berlin first discovered Backyard Tire Fire when they opened for his band Los Lobos last October. Backyard Tire Fire's Ed Anderson counted the legendary East Los Angeles group among his biggest influences, so the opportunity to join them on a bill was a career high point. What Anderson didn't expect, however, was that Los Lobos would watch Backyard Tire Fire's entire set from the side of the stage and later invite Anderson and company to sit in for the encore. Berlin was so taken by Backyard Tire Fire's performance that he reached out the following week to inquire about the possibility of producing their next record.

"It takes a pretty special band to rivet the attention of Los Lobos, and Backyard Tire Fire are exactly that," states Berlin. "Great songs, great playing and great guys. I'm really looking forward to the recording sessions. They've come up with another amazing batch of songs. In my opinion they are one of America's best young bands."

Steve Berlin and Backyard Tire Fire will commence recording in late February. Jeff Stuart Saltzman (Death Cab for Cutie, Stephen Malkmus, The Decemberists) will engineer the sessions at Type Foundry Studio in Portland, Oregon where many  of M. Ward's projects have been recorded, including last year's hit, She & Him. As has been Backyard Tire Fire's aesthetic for all of its previous recordings, the sessions will be cut to tape and completely analog.

Backyard Tire Fire's 2008 effort, The Places We Lived fed a growing buzz in the U.S. based around principle songwriter Ed Anderson's ability to combine working class lyrical sentiment with eccentric indie rock songcraft. The album finished on year-end "best of" lists with writers at No Depression, Blurt, Jambase and Glide Magazine. In addition, Sirius XM U has kept "Shoulda Shut It" in regular rotation since early Fall. On the performance front, Backyard Tire Fire toured relentlessly playing both headline dates and opening slots with Reverend Horton Heat, Rose Hill Drive and Squirrel Nut Zippers among others. In February, they'll join JJ Grey & Mofro for a run of shows in the midwest and in March they'll tape their debut appearance on the nationally-syndicated radio show Mountain Stage.

Upcoming Backyard Tire Fire tour dates are:

January 30 & 31 / Louie's / Bloomington, IL
February 3 / Bluebird / Bloomington, IN*
February 4 / Downing University Center Theatre / Bowling Green, KY*
February 5 / The Intersection / Grand Rapids, MI*
February 6 / The Magic Bag / Ferndale, MI*
February 7 / The Dame / Lexington, KY*
February 8 / Industry / Iowa City, IA*
March 13 / Chicago Street / Joliet, IL
March 15 / Mountain Stage / Charleston, WV
March 19 / 40 Watt Club / Athens, GA**
March 20 / Emerald Lounge / Asheville, NC**
March 21 / Gottrocks / Greenville, SC**
April 2 / Locals Only / Indianapolis, IN***
April 3 / Southgate House / Cincinnati, OH
April 4 / Barley's Taproom / Knoxville, TN
April 10 / Mojo's / Columbia, MO
April 11 / Off Broadway / St. Louis, MO****
April 14 / Wisconsin Public TV / Madison, WI
April 16 / Gerstle's / Louisville, KY**
April 17 / Hangar 9 / Carbondale, IL**
April 18 / Double Door / Chicago, IL**
April 23 / 7th Street / Minneapolis, MN
April 24 / High Noon Saloon / Madison, WI
April 25 / Green Room / Sheboygan, WI
April 26 / Brown Baer / Elkhart Lake, WI
April 30 / Redstone Room / Davenport, IA
May 1 / Nutty's North / Sioux Falls, SD
May 2 / Vaudeville Mews / Des Moines, IA
 
* Supporting JJ Grey & Mofro
** Co-bill with Bloodkin
***Co-bill with Steepwater Band
****Co-bill with Pokey LaFarge

Steve Kimock Crazy Engine Heads West

Kimock- for the Grateful Web

Steve Kimock will be hitting the road this spring with his new project Steve Kimock Crazy Engine. Exploring a new direction, Crazy Engine is a Steve Kimock project unlike any other. Pushing the boundaries of rock and roll, rhythm and blues, gospel and soul, the repertoire will include Kimock classics as well as an energized catalogue of covers and fresh material.

For nearly four decades Steve Kimock has earned a reputation as a guitarist with an enlightened approach to melodic improvisation and has captured audiences from around the globe with his tasteful guitar speak and brilliant tone. Labeled the "guitar monk" by Relix Magazine for his relentless pursuit of the art of guitar, Steve Kimock blends all of his influences, capturing the spirit of the music wherever he goes, while tuning into sounds from some unseen dimensions.

The long-awaited project will also feature legendary Hammond B3 player, Melvin Seals, best known for his work with the Jerry Garcia Band. The glistening new line up also includes the cookin' rhythm section of Janis Wallin on bass (Family Groove Company) and Kimock's own son, John Morgan Kimock on drums. Rounding out the configuration with their soulful crooning are "The Girls" on vocals, featuring Cheryl Rucker and Shirley Starks (Melvin Seals and JGB).

Crazy Engine will begin the ride on the West Coast in late March of 2009. With dates filling in quickly from coast to coast, there is no stopping the tour-de-force that moves Steve Kimock and his dynamic band.

For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit kimock.com.

TOUR DATES:
03/26 – Crystal Bay Club – Crystal Bay, NV
03/27 – Great American Music Hall – San Francisco
03/28 – Great American Music Hall – San Francisco
03/29 – Mystic Theatre – Petaluma, CA
03/31 – Red Fox Tavern – Eureka, CA
04/01 – Red Fox Tavern – Eureka, CA
04/02 – The Domino Room – Bend, OR
04/03 – Aladdin Theatre – Portland, OR
04/04 – McDonald Theatre – Eugene, OR
04/05 – Big Room @ Sierra Nevada Brewing Company – Chico, CA

Steve Kimock Gears Up For Denver NYE Shows

photo by Phil Emma- for the Grateful Web

Guitarist Steve Kimock returns to Denver for a string of dates leading up to this year's New Year's Eve revelry. Kimock will join the illustrious Everyone Orchestra on Monday, December 29th at Cervantes' Masterpiece Ballroom, followed by a two-night celebration on December 30th and 31st at Owsley's Golden Road with legendary B-3 player Melvin Seals & JGB. Kimock's stop in Colorado promises to be a memorable close to a eventful 2008 for the versatile guitarist.

The kickoff show at Cervantes pairs Kimock with the Everyone Orchestra, the Portland, OR based revolving cast of extraordinary musicians brought together by percussionist Matt Butler. Having showcased members from Phish, moe., SCI and countless other nationally known musicians, the Everyone Orchestra joined by Steve Kimock will deliver a celebratory, interactive, fun, improvisational experience orchestrated by a mad scientist conductor.

On the following nights at Owsley's Golden Road, Kimock joins Melvin Seals and JGB for two nights of musical revelry to bring in 2009. The Tuesday night show will feature a special late night set from perennial groovers BoomBox, while the Wednesday night New Year's Eve show will feature the Eric McFadden Trio opening.

All shows are ages 16 and up, with doors at 8PM and music starting at 9PM. Tickets are available at Kimock.com and Cervante's Ballroom for this emphatic year end celebration. As Kimock and company put the exclamation point on 2008, expect big things from him in 2009, as he launches his new nationally touring band, Steve Kimock's Crazy Engine. Stay Tuned!

Mon. Dec 29, 2008
Everyone Orchestra featuring Steve Kimock

Cervantes' Ballroom
2637 Welton Street
Denver, CO 80205
Doors: 8:00 PM | Show: 9:00 PM
Ages: 16+

Tue. Dec 30, 2008
Melvin Seals & JGB featuring Steve Kimock

Owsley's Golden Road
2151 Lawrence Street
Denver, CO 80205
Doors: 8:00 PM | Show: 9:00 PM
Ages: 16+

Wed. Dec 31, 2008
Melvin Seals & JGB featuring Steve Kimock

Owsley's Golden Road
2151 Lawrence Street
Denver, CO 80205
Doors: 8:00 PM | Show: 9:00 PM
Ages: 16+

Steve Kimock Launches Crazy Engine

Steve Kimock Crazy Engine- for the Grateful Web

After three years, Steve Kimock announces his new nationally touring band, Steve Kimock Crazy Engine. This is Kimock unleashed. The ensuing revelry featuring Melvin Seals on Hammond B3, will push the boundaries of rock and roll, rhythm, gospel and soul for undeniably feel-good music. Known for his mind-bending versatility and intuitive guitar-speak, Kimock has enjoyed the last few years performing with the likes of Rhythm Devils, Ratdog, Allman Bros, Little Feat and Zero among others. While the complete six-person line-up won't be announced until next month, expect gigantic things from Crazy Engine in the coming year.

New Years in Colorado

 

Steve Kimock returns to Denver for a string of dates leading up to this year's New Year's Eve celebration. Kimock will join the illustrious Everyone Orchestra on Monday, December 29th at Cervantes' Masterpiece Ballroom, followed by a two-night celebration on December 30th and 31st at Owsley's Golden Road with Melvin Seals and JGB. Kimock's stop in Colorado promises to be a memorable close to an eventful 2008.

Steve Earle: Renaissance Man and American Rebel

photo by Ted Barron- for the Grateful Web

There are vast depths to singer/songwriter Steve Earle. Not only is he one of the best creative writers in music, having received thirteen Grammy nominations and winning two for Best Contemporary Folk Album, but he writes soundtracks for movies and television (P.S. I Love You, Brokeback Mountain, Pay It Forward, The Horse Whisperer, G.I. Jane, Dead Man Walking, and many more).  He's also an actor, having appeared regularly in the HBO prison drama The Wire, and he paints a little, too.

Earle ran his own record label for a few years. "I started a label called E Squared with a friend of mine named Jack Emerson right after I got out of jail in 1995,"  Earle said in a recent phone conversation.  "I recorded for that label with one distribution scheme or another till about three years ago when Jack passed away.... Just having a record label kind of got to be anti art. It got to be sort of like owning a pickup truck and everybody calls you to help them move.  I was just so busy trying to keep all that going I felt like I didn't have time to concentrate on what I do." He now records with   New West Records.

He's been working on a novel for the past six years, hoping to get that magnus opus done in the next few months. He did finish a book of haiku, a full year's worth of little gems, written one-a-day from wherever he was on the planet. He also published a collection of short stories called Doghouse Roses. In eleven stories, he told the tales of people struggling with drugs, trying to make it in the music industry, or living nightmares in Vietnam. Unfortunately, the literary world raked these human portraits over their ivory tower braziers. Earle never intended to create great art, just human art. And, he's been doing that for decades through multiple artistic genres.

"There's not as much difference as people would think between the job of writing and singing a song or acting or writing a book or a play," Steve Earle said. "The jobs aren't that far apart." Each one, calls upon the artist to walk in someone else's shoes to convey the story. "Some people get confused about that," he said, "but it is the way I approached doing it....That's the job. For me, it always has been."

Earle has the uncanny ability to create unforgettable characters, especially in his songs. Responding to a rough cut of the film Dead Man Walking that screenwriter/director Tim Robbins sent him, Earle wrote a gut-wrenching song about a prison guard called "Ellis Unit One."  "In The Horse Whisperer, I wrote a song based on the character as I saw it," Earle said, referring to the Robert Redford character, Tom Booker, who had finesse with people as well as horses. "I actually put words into the mouth of one of the characters in the movie."

However, that ability to get inside a character once caused media to vilify him. When "John Walker's Blues," which he wrote in 2002 about the young man who came to be known as the American Taliban, started hitting radio stations, it sent a shock wave throughout the country, with some  stations refusing to play it and causing talking heads to smack their mouths in a media frenzy. Yet, anyone who actually listened to the song understood that Earle wasn't being un-American. He merely saw a human being in the eyes of John Walker Lindh.  "I have a son that's exactly the same age as John Walker Lindh," Earle said. "I was really relating to that as a father. I saw that kid on TV. He was strapped to board, a skinny 20-year-old kid, and I had a skinny 20-year-old kid of my own at the time."

Earle's skinny little kid, Justin Townes Earle, is now 26 and he'll be playing at the Winnipeg Folk Festival this week. "He's been playing since he was 13 or 14," Earle said. "He was one of those post modern Nirvana fans. He was too young to have been a Nirvana fan when Cobain was alive. The acoustic thing, for him, kind of started from listening to the Nirvana Unplugged thing on MTV. Cobain was doing what he called 'Where Did You Sleep Last Night' and I always called 'In the Pines.'  My son was talking about how much he liked that song and I told him it was a Leadbelly song. He got into my records and my Leadbelly records are right next to my Lighting Hopkins records. He sort of went from there." Earle also had video recordings of some of these roots players, including Lightning Hopkins. "He could literally watch those and watch where they were putting their fingers. He plays that stuff really well."

But six years ago, Steve Earle steeled himself for the onslaught that his songwriting would produce. Even before he wrote the lyrics, he ignored advice from fellow musician Elvis Costello and others not to write it.  "I knew people were going to freak out," Earle remembered. "I had to make a conscious decision to write it anyway. I wrote it because I was genuinely inspired to do it." Still, he knew that he would not be understood. "There are a lot of people out there who only listen to every third word. At that point in time, most people were reacting to the reaction of a handful of people whose job is to overreact to stuff for the entertainment value of overreacting, the Rush Limbaughs, the New York Post.....I mean, if you're not pissing off the New York Post like I did, then you're not doing your job."

Though Earle's latest recording, Washington Square Serenade, doesn't have a song like "John Walker's Blues" on it, the album is no less stirring. His "City of Immigrants" was written to remind TV pundits who rail against immigration that this country was founded by and continues to prosper because of immigrants. And, "Oxycontin Blues," which is probably the most rootsy cut on this album, is about the widespread addiction of this painkiller in the South where it's known as Hillbilly Heroin.

"Before everybody learned the word from Rush Limbaugh, it was in the news," Earle said. "I lived in Tennessee for 32 years. It was in the news in Tennessee, Kentucky, and Virginia. People were crushing it up and either eating it or injecting it or snorting it, and they would die. Tennessee is one of the most landlocked states in the United States; it borders seven other states. It has just never had a particularly dependable supply of class A narcotics. It's always been that way. They've always been expensive and hard to get them in there....Dilaudid was the drug of choice when I was using. Nowadays, it's OxyContin."

Earle is currently touring with his wife, Alison Moorer, (Mrs. Earle number seven, by the way).

He will bring a bus load of instruments: a bouzouki, a mandolin, harmonica, tamboura, harmonium, several guitars including a resonator guitar and a 12 string, and his trusty banjo, a copy of an old White Lady open backed model made by Bart Rider made it. "I only know how to play the kind of banjo that scares sheep. It's a very, very primitive instrument in my hands," Earle said. All of these instruments were used on Washington Square Serenade.


His shows will also feature a club DJ, which you would never expect from an organic roots performer like Earle. However, he does have a very good reason for bringing this guy along. "The way we arrived at this record was over beats," Earle explained. "I recorded loops for the most part and played most of the instruments myself. Much of that I could have done solo, and that would have been fine. But for 'Satellite Radio' and 'Way Down in the Hall,' I just couldn't figure out how I was going to do them live. Then, John King, who produced the record and was also a DJ, suggested that I get a DJ. As it turned out my monitor engineer was a club DJ, and we started experimenting with it, and it works. You just have to see it."

Earle sees another album in the near future, as well as a lot more acting. "I'm doing a film in the fall," he said. "And I'll probably be acting more because I'm starting to get asked to.  I like doing it, and the insurance is better."

But he keeps songwriting ever most in his creative repertoire. "Still, my day job is making records and writing songs.  But all the other stuff, I bring back to my home-base craft.  I found that it makes it better."

Steve Earle grabs life and wrings as much meaning—and stories - out of it as he can, giving this Renaissance rebel a deep understanding of the human heart and human hunger. Catch Earle live in his new tour or savor his latest album Washington Square Serenade.