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Steve Earle

"I Feel Alright" CD (Warner)

Lots of you probably couldn't give two fucks about country music. And that's totally understandable, unless you're talking about proto-punks like Johnny Cash or Steve Earle. The Nashville establishment rejects Earle outright because he was once hooked on heroin and crack, and no self-respecting country artist does the same drugs as minorities, right? In big hat country you chase downers with Jack Daniels and beat your wife, just don't put a needle in your arm like those fellers over in the projects. But one has to suspect that Nashville keeps Earle out for another reason - he's a genius who doesn't fit in with pretty boys like Garth or beer-bellied yahoos like Hank Jr. On "I Feel Alright," (Earle's first release since getting out of jail on a possession charge), the troubled troubadour makes up for lost time in a big way. The title track spits a hefty loogie in the face of the industry and the weasels who currently dominate the charts with their video-ready spew. Make no mistake about it - THIS IS PUNK in every sense of the word. Well, except for maybe the Beatlesque harmonica in "More Than I Can Do." (ERIC)

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Last modified on Wednesday, March 26, 2008