Steve Earle packs a musical wallop

cd REVIEW

Steve Earle’s CD, “Washington Square Serenade” (New West CD), is an ode to New York City and its residents. His song “Tennessee Blues” is his farewell to music city, Nashville, Tenn., and his hello to NYC.

In “City of Immigrants” he extols the greatness of New York City through its residents, who are all immigrants. In a CBS “Good Morning America” segment, Earle sang this song and made it clear where he stood on that issue. It’s destined to become a classic.

On the inside cover of his beautiful CD folder presentation, he ends his personal message to listeners with the “P.S. F—k Lou Dobbs.” Dobbs is the racist immigrant-basher on CNN every night.

“Down Here Below” pays homage to the famous red-tailed hawk of Fifth Avenue, Pale Male, and to the different neighborhoods of NYC. It is a very creative song for a new New Yorker. In putting words in the hawk’s mouth, Earle seems to be speaking for himself, “God, I love this town.”

This CD brings together two new lovebirds, Steve Earle and Allison Moorer. Earle doesn’t hide the fact of his years of drug addiction and that he is now in his 13th year of recovery. His marriage to Moorer is his sixth. He also doesn’t hide that fact.

Moorer is an accomplished singer with an Academy Award to her credits.

Earle sings almost half of his songs to extol his love and marriage to Moorer. But, less Earle fans worry about his getting soft … your worries are not real.

His “Oxycotin Blues” is an ode to coal miners in their struggle for survival. This connects with his previous songs written to honor those who toil underground.

A couple of songs are directly related to his continuing struggle against his drug experience, the most significant one being his cover of the powerful Tom Waits song, “Way Down in the Hole.”

Finally, Earle pays tribute, much as Bruce Springsteen has done, to Pete Seeger. But his song, “Steve’s Hammer (For Pete),” which includes the line, “One of these days I’m gonna lay this hammer down,” is not meant for Pete Seeger, but for Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul and Mary. It is a very moving personal and political tribute.

This musical treasure warrants everyone’s attention.