ARTIST: Steve Earle
TITLE: Guitar Town
YEAR RELEASED: 1986
CHART ACTION: #89, #1 Country
SINGLES: Hillbilly Highway (#37 Country), Guitar Town (#7 Country), Someday (#28 Country)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Goodbye’s All We’ve Got Left
LINEUP: Steve Earle, Bucky Baxter, Richard Bennett, Ken Moore, Emory Gordy Jr., Harry Stinson. Reno Kling, Michael McAdam, Paul Franklin, John Barlow Jarvis, and Steve Nathan also pitched in.
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Debut album from country singer-songwriter puts him directly in the spotlight as country fans look for something new.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Country music fans who wanted something more than just the latest country-pop dreck were enthused by this record, for good reason.
Earle’s songs and arrangements all had a strong retro-country feel, and his storytelling broke out of the sentimental goop and onto something that was real, and seemingly well-worn. The title track had a great line in “Got a two pack habit and a motel tan”, which really describes life on the road.
Country music with a rock attitude was nothing new, but it was dormant until Earle came on board (though Dwight Yoakam was close). This record helped alt-country be a thing, for real.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: He had released some singles before this album, but they barely charted, if that.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: A bonus track from a live show.
GRADE: A: For the songs, and the attitude.