Feb 28: Steve Earle released Train a Comin in 1995

Steve-Earle_train

“This ain’t no part of no unplugged nothin — God, I hate MTV”
~Steve Earle (Liner notes)

I got to thinking,…if I don’t make this record now, I won’t get the chance to make it. .. I’m singing the best I’ve sung in years. Mainly [because of] no dope. Heroin relaxes your vocal cords, it lowers the top of your range a little bit, and then when you try to sing over it…
~Steve Earle (to SPIN in 1995)

I wish I’d never come back home
It don’t feel right since I’ve been grown
I can’t find any of my old friends hangin’ ’round
Won’t nothin’ bring you down like your hometown

Hometown Blues – From Later With Jools Holland 1995:

Wikipedia:

Released February 28, 1995
Genre Folk, country, country rock, bluegrass
Length 40:21
Label Warner Bros.

Train a Comin’ is an acoustic studio album by Steve Earle. The album, Earle’s first in five years, was released in 1995. In addition to Earle, it features Peter Rowan, Norman Blake, Roy Huskey, and Emmylou Harris. The album was nominated for a Grammy for Best Contemporary Folk Album.

steve earle 1995

If you see her out tonight
And she tells you it’s just the lights
That bring her here and not her loneliness
That’s what she says but sometimes she forgets

Sometimes She Forgets:

Train a Comin’ was the first album recorded after Earle overcame his addiction to drugs in the fall of 1994, after being convicted for possession. Earle’s last studio album had been the 1990 album The Hard Way, and he essentially stopped touring by 1992 as his addiction worsened.

Most of the songs on the album are older material written when Earle was in his late teens and twenties, including “Hometown Blues,” “Sometimes She Forgets,” Mercenary Song,” “Ben McCulloch,” “Nothin’ Without You,” and “Tom Ames’ Prayer. Goodbye” was written while Earle was in court-ordered rehab in the fall of 1994. In concerts, Earle introduces the song as the first song he wrote clean, and as a “ninth step in the key of C,” referring to the step in which an addict seeks to make amends.

I remember holdin on to you
All them long and lonely nights I put you through
Somewhere in there I’m sure I made you cry
But I can’t remember if we said goodbye

Album version of Goodbye…  perfection:

And a great live version with Emmylou Harris:

According to the liner notes of the album, “Angel is the Devil” was one of only four songs written during his hiatus, which he refers to as his “vacation in the ghetto,” and the mandolin line of “Mystery Train part II” was written in the early 1990s with the lyrics finished the day it was recorded. The album also includes an instrumental by Norman Blake and three covers: Townes Van Zandt’s “Tecumseh Valley”, the Beatles’ “I’m Looking Through You” and The Melodians’ reggae standard “Rivers of Babylon.”

steve earle

Earle drew on established bluegrass and acoustic instrumentalists for the album, which was a departure from his earlier work with backing band the Dukes. He said to an interviewer at the time that he was seeking an older sound, and the album was recorded in just five days.

“I was goin’ for a sound where it sounded like old Opry stuff, where everybody stepped around the mike, which is real close to what we actually did. It ended up being even more of an organic record than I thought it was gonna be.”

The name she gave was Caroline
The daughter of a miner
And her ways were free and it seemed to me
The sunshine walked beside her

Tecumseh Valley (Townes Van Zandt) – album version:

Personnel:

  • Steve Earle: guitar, high string guitar, 12 string guitar, harmonica, mandolin, vocals
  • Peter Rowan: mandolin, mandola, gut string guitars, vocals
  • Norman Blake: Hawaiian guitar, dobro, mandolin, fiddle, guitar
  • Roy Huskey, Jr.: acoustic bass (and inspiration on “I’m Looking Through You”)
  • Emmylou Harris: vocals on “Nothin’ Without You” and “The Rivers of Babylon”

Train A Comin’ Album(Spotify):

-Egil & Hallgeir

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