Sunday, January 26, 2014

Steve Earle & The Dukes - I Ain't Ever Satisfied

"I Ain't Ever Satisfied" is off Steve Earle's second MCA record, Exit 0, and it highlights an artist in transition.  While the album is still a country/rock record, songs such as "I Ain't Ever Satisfied" show such a strong roots rock sensibility that it is not surprising to find that Earle migrated to a more straight up rock style for his next album, 1988's Copperhead Road.  [By the by, "Copperhead Road" (the song) was featured on ERV last June.]

For better and worse, Steve Earle has lived the rock and roll lifestyle.  He was born in Virginia but grew up in Texas and began playing guitar at 11.  Earle left home at 16, eventually moving to Nashville.  Years of work led to several recording contracts before he signed with MCA and released Guitar Town in 1986.  Guitar Town was a breakout record, and Earle was seen as a fresh new country artist and a roots rocker. While Exit 0 and Copperhead Road did well, creative and political tensions with the Nashville music scene, drug use, and multiple marriages (7 as of this writing) derailed Earle's career by the early 1990's.

Recorded with his touring band, the Dukes, "I Ain't Ever Satisfied" clearly shows the talent of Earle.  The video, loosely following the Robert Johnson Crossroads story, seems pitch perfect and is enhanced by a Waylon Jennings cameo at 3:31.  The lyrics are also worth calling out, as they are tremendous.  Allmusic goes so far as to state that this is something of a theme song for Steve Earle; at a minimum, it does provide some insight into the man.

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