The title and opening songs of Washington Square Serenade
are as much a celebration of New York City--Steve Earle's newly adopted home--as his breakthrough Guitar Town
was an evocation of his previous home in Nashville. In fact, the opening "Tennessee Blues," with its acoustic guitar over a digital rhythm loop, bids "goodbye to Guitar Town," as he leaves with "a redhead by my side." That would be wife Allison Moorer, who harmonizes beautifully with her husband on "Days Aren't Long Enough," written by the two; provides background vocals elsewhere; and plainly inspires "Sparkle and Shine" and the bittersweet "Come Home to Me," two of the album's loveliest songs. The result is a new chapter in Earle's career, an album unlike any he's previously recorded, produced by John King of the Dust Brothers (Beck, Beastie Boys). While the raw, raging blues of "Red Is the Color" ranks with Earle's most powerful music, "Satellite Radio" could well be the slightest (as well as perhaps a plug for Earle's own radio show), but the artist's willingness to take chances attests to a restless creativity that refuses to be corralled. Other noteworthy tracks include the Brazilian-tinged "City of Immigrants," the tribute to Pete Seeger on "Steve's Hammer," and the closing rendition of Tom Waits's "Down in the Hole," which will serve as the theme music for Season 5 of The Wire
. --Don McLeese
More from Steve Earle
After an extremely rare three year break from recording, Grammy® Award winner Steve Earle is back, with Washington Square Serenade. The album represents a number of firsts for Steve: his first record for New West Records, his first album produced in New York City (now his home), and his first produced by John King of The Dust Brothers (Beck, Beastie Boys) at the legendary Electric Lady Studios. The deluxe CD/DVD version will be available with bonus packaging art plus an exclusive documentary DVD about the inspiration behind the album. The bonus DVD includes 3 acoustic performances, interviews and a walking tour of Greenwich Village with Steve and noted journalist Mark Jacobson. The album will also be available as a Limited Edition 180 gram vinyl record.