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Washington Square Serenade (DIG)
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With all that in mind, Steve's new gift to music is Washington Square Serenade, an album of 11 originals and 1 cover. Recorded in the famed Electric Lady studios, the album is different from his others by default, because as he says right in the bonus disc's interviews, he now "tests positive for ProTools." This is immediately apparent from the album's beginning, which has drum beats and samples throughout the 12 tracks. If you can get past the beats, you've got a pretty darn good album ahead of you.
The album begins with Steve's farewell to Nashville, "Tennessee Blues." Personally, I think the acoustic-only version is better (more on that later), but the lyrics are downright beautiful--"Blue dog on my floorboard, redhead by my side, cross the mighty Hudson River to the New York City side. Redhead by my side, boys, sweetest thing I've found. Goodbye, Guitar Town"--and a perfect goodbye to the place he used to call home. Next comes "Down Here Below," a mostly spoken-word song about the resident NYC red-tailed hawk Pale Male that is very reminiscent of the Drive-By Truckers' "A World of Hurt." Steve's voice is hypnotizing on it.Read more ›
The mellow approach had meant Earles songs could shine, their melody, humor, and celebration can shine through. This isn't just another Earle album, there's definately something new going on here.
I won't run through all the tracks, it's a record that deserves to be heard all the way through. However, personally speaking, there is only one hole in the record, one track I wish I could tear out. So, City Of Immigrants was a single huh? Ouch! I'm not getting on with that very much, its message is far too simplistic for me, and the chorus is just annoying.
Thankfully, everything around it is just wonderful. This is the first Earle album I can honestly say can be played any time of the night and day. I've played it at 2 in the morning and at 6... it works.
You know, this is certainly the best Earle album for a long time - which is not to say what he's been doing has been poor. This is a mature record with a wave of contentment over top. It's fun, beautiful, and your foot taps. What more do you want?
The album opens up with the track "Tennessee Blues", a sort of retrospective and look forward to the future at the same time. It's a solid opener. The CD quickly changes gears, moving on to "Down Here Below", a foot tapping tale of Steve's experiences and exploits in his new hometown. It's a masterful piece of songwriting from Earle, with excellent instrumentation and backing vocals from Alison Moorer.
The next track, "Satellite Radio", isn't as successful. It's got a driving beat, but the melody seems to drone on and on, never changing from the one or two notes that repeat throughout the song. Thankfully, the outstanding "City of Immigrants" appears next. This is the song Steve has been performing on various programs to promote Washington Square Serenade, and that was a good choice on his part, as it's one of the highlights of this album. Forro in the Dark provides excellent backing music.
Unfortunately, the next two tracks often sound boring and repetitive enough to lull you to sleep. But, no worries! "Jericho Road" is next, an outstanding track that sounds just like classic Earle. Well written, with a pounding beat and wailing harp.
But, following "Jericho Road" is, what I think, is the best track of the whole album. The "Oxycontin Blues".Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
His music takes me just a little out of my comfort zone...but I like that now and then....especially when I am working.Published 11 months ago by Judy F. Wolters
Steve goes big apple! Funny how a guy from Nashville can adjust and actually love our great big city. AND he loves the Bronx Bombers!Published 14 months ago by paul gabriel
Best album he ever made, and maybe one of the best I have ever heard!Published 23 months ago by Richard Skarie
My boyfriend did not have two of the Steve Earle CD this was one of them. I was glad that Amazon had this one. He just love them.Published on December 3, 2013 by Jude
Steve Earle is amoung the most consistently great artists of our time. Take "Tennennee Blues", "Satellite Radio", "City of Immigrants", "Sparkle and Shine", "Jericho Road",... Read morePublished on February 22, 2013 by Daniel W. Bleier
I first heard Steve Earle back in the 1980s when he released his first two albums, Guitar Town and Copperhead Road. Read morePublished on July 18, 2012 by Mark Anderson
I find this album great. Sure I'm a huge guitar town and exit 0 guy, but this record stands on it's own. Read morePublished on March 13, 2011 by wordman
Or El Corazon. Steve is on the right track, but still a good distance from his peak.Published on September 26, 2010 by T. Phillips