Missed Masterpieces: Steve Earle's "Copperhead Road" | Buzz Blog

Missed Masterpieces: Steve Earle's "Copperhead Road"

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Steve Earle was walking back and forth on top of a 15-feet-high, three-feet-wide brick fence while swigging out of a fifth of tequila laced with 19 hits of acid.---

A girl down below kept yelling, “Jump, you motherfucking chickenshit!” At that very moment Steve Earle knew he had found true love.

I don’t know if it’s some kind of cosmic rule that great music has to be made by people at their very emotional edge, but my research seems to lean that way. You’d never want to be where your musical heroes have been. It seems like there’s an emotional price to pay for the very best music that gets made.

Steve Earle has been called a country artist, an alt-country artist, even a “roots rocker.” What Steve Earle is is a singer/songwriter from Texas, and there’s some cosmic rule that singer/songwriters from Texas have to be bug-shit crazy, with a level of self-destruction that makes Keith Richards seem like a panty-waste.

One thing I know is that Steve Earle has never made a bad album. He could even do great covers of Nirvana songs like “Lithium.”

But Steve Earle’s masterpiece was his third album, and its title song, “Copperhead Road,” on which he tells the story of having to make money bootlegging, and then goes on to explain there was more money to be made in other products like cannabis. The song is both so sonically and lyrically powerful it should be in anyone’s collection that both loves great music and is pissed about things as they are.

It makes this song, and album, both powerful and realistic. Give it a ride with your brain open.

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