Few artists can command attentive listening quite the way roots-rock renegade Steve Earle can. Maybe it’s the authentic way he conveys the plight of the little guy through his politically charged lyrics, or perhaps it’s that his rustic vocals carry the familiar air of a close friend.
Either way, when the bespectacled alt-country legend took to the stage at The Factory Theatre armed with just his bouzouki and larger-than-life attitude, every ear in the place was in the palm of his hand right from the get-go.
Planting himself by the microphone in front of a hushed crowd, Earle kicked off proceedings with the sprightly ‘Waitin’ For The Sky to Fall’. “Didn’t know that I was gonna live this long now, I am sitting on top Of The world,” he bellowed, and when you consider how the man has used up more lives than a three-legged cat and still seems so full of spirit, there is no reason he shouldn’t be.
Similarly, Earle has never been one to lyrically shy from the environmental and political issues plaguing the world today, and rounded off his rhythmic sea-shanty ‘Gulf Of Mexico’- a song wouldn’t seem out-of-place somewhere on The Pogues’ back catalog – with his frank, honest opinion on the whole matter: “f*ck BP”.
Earle rounded off the intimate evening of toe-tapping alt-country music and good ol’ fashioned storytelling with the sing-a-long charms of ‘Guitar Town’, but just as he left the stage to the sound of uproarious applause, he gave his crowd with one final bit of advice: “Be careful goin’ home… they’re out there!”