Super Lawyers
William C. Altreuter

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

To Steve Earl and the Dukes last night, at the Iron Works, a venue that was new to us. Lemme just go out on a limb right here and say that Earle's body of work compares favorably to Neil Young's. From a genre perspective the two artists are working slightly different traditions-- Young, his Ontario roots notwithstanding, is about as California as it is possible to be, while Earle is steeped deep in Texas. Both write beautiful songs about romantic yearning, but it seems to me that as political songwriters Earle has the edge, and that's a pretty substantial thing, to be able to write a song of social awareness like. "The Revolution Starts Now" without sounding preachy, or trite, or naive.

I'll tell you what also, Earle has hisself a crack band too. A husband and wife billed as The Mastersons: Eleanor Whitmore on fiddle and other instruments and Chris Masterson on guitar

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opened as a duo and were a pleasant surprise, but they really got going once the headliner took the stage. Earle mainstay Kelly Looney was on electric and upright bass and Will Rigby handled drums. Masterson is the real deal, a Texas guitarist who clearly spent a lot of time with Johnny Winter records on the way to developing his own style. There were some technical glitches with the mix, and the weather was rough on the tuning at times, but it has to be said that the band really delivered. I'm not sure why I hadn't seen Earle before, but I won't miss him again, and I'll be picking up a side by the Mastersons.

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