When you’ve been sired by an alt-country insurgent like
Steve Earle it might be expected that you’d practice your own rebellious
regimen. Consequently, it’s something of a surprise that the younger Earle
prefers to tap tradition, injecting bluegrass, blues, folk and even ragtime
into rootsy ruminations.
His sophomore set finds
a casual, confident saunter that veers effortlessly from reflection to remorse.
“I am my father’s son/We don’t see eye to eye/I admit that I don’t try,” he
concedes on “Mama’s Eyes,” the only time he begins to echo his dad’s rowdy
reputation. And while the mournful break-up ballads “Here We Go Again” and “Someday
I’ll Be Forgiven for This” suggest a lowered gaze, it’s effectively mollified
by the lithe fiddle and mandolin interplay of “Can’t Hardly Wait,” the
down-home shuffle of “Black Eyed Suzy” and the amiable upbeat blues of “Halfway
at the Movies finds Earle a solid leading man.
Standout Tracks: “Mama’s Eyes,”
“Black Eyed Suzy,” LEE ZIMMERMAN