It was that time again to go down to the Corn Exchange and watch one of my favourite living singer/songwriters perform. I've been a fan of Steve Earle's for 25 years (almost as long as of Springsteen) and after Springsteen is the artist I have the most albums of.
This tour was on the back of his latest album, Townes (a whole album of Townes van Zandt covers). Townes was one of Earle's mentors and best friends with their lives having some rather sad parallels with the difference that Earle managed to turn his around while van Zandt's ended prematurely.
Tonight's gig was a quiet affair, just Steve on guitar/mandolin/harmonica playing classics (starting with Christmas in Washington) pared down to the basics, with the odd rambling in between (although there was a lot less of that than last time). Surprisingly, and disappointingly, he only played two tracks from Townes but he did play Pancho&Lefty (and yes, I cried, dammit) but the acoustic renditions of his earlier work were so good that I can forgive him for that.
I was quite surprised to hear him play the theme from The Wire (I'd seen him as an actor but as I haven't seen Season 5 yet, I didn't know he actually sang the theme in the last season) which was a great number with audience singing the choir part. Mentioning TV, I now have to see Treme in which he also acts and has written music for.
Support was Christopher Rees, also solo, who played some cool folky stuff.
He finished with a wonderful and quiet version of Little Rock'n'Roller.