The short stories and lyrics of two contemporary writers: Steve Earle & Rosanne Cash
Part One

R. L. Burkhead, MFA
C&V
Autumn 2004

Two decades ago, the alternative country movement propelled a group of politically aware lyricists into the Nashville mainstream, and they brought with them empathy for particular segments of American society: the female point of view, certain religions, the lonely, the mentally ill, the aged and dying, the criminal, and the mistreated.  Among these lyricists were Steve Earle and Rosanne Cash, two artists whose politics and empathy manifest themselves in opposite, but equally effective, ways.  Earle's fiction collection Doghouse Roses contains the same amount of external overtness as his lyrics while Cash's lyrics and the stories from Bodies of Water and Songs Without Rhythm explore a woman's inner rhythms. In the first of a two part article, Tennessee-based writer Roy Burkhead unravels the modes, messages and meanings of two significant American music-makers. SW

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Sixteen years ago.

Songwriter Jason Hunt at Douglas Corner Café, 8th Avenue, in Nashville, Tennessee:  “I was part of a songwriter's showcase. Steve was the featured writer.  In other words, he played somewhere towards the end of the show since a lot of people came just to see him.  Steve showed up with two guitars and a mandolin right before he was scheduled to go on. He had a blue bandana wrapped around his right wrist.  (This keeps sweat off the guitar.)  He was pretty big news back then. His song "Guitar Town" had done well, as had his album by the same name.  What really impressed me was that Bruce Springsteen had been seen going into a record store somewhere in California. He came out with a copy of Guitar Town.  Steve played a great set that night. When he broke a string on one guitar, he picked up the other and said, ‘See, y'all thought I was just trying to look important bringing in two guitars.’ He played mandolin on "Copperhead Road." At one point, almost as if to pay Bruce back for all the publicity he'd inadvertently sent Steve's way, Steve did a fantastic cover of Springsteen's "State Trooper" off the Nebraska album, the dark, acoustic masterpiece that Bruce recorded on a four-track in a basement in New Jersey.  After Steve's show, he and I struck up a conversation at the bar. We were both drinking. It was noisy and hard to hear, and I remember that Steve seemed like an umpire at a baseball game, shouting his thoughts not four or five inches from my face. I told him I really liked his version of “State Trooper", and that I covered quite a few songs from Nebraska myself.  He said, ‘Yeah, on rainy nights, I like listening to that album and thinking about killing myself.’  I was never sure if he was being sarcastic and commenting on the relentlessly somber tone of Nebraska or if he really enjoyed letting the music carry him to the edge of the abyss. Maybe both” (Hunt, 2003).

With Earle getting drunk at the bar, Nashville journalists and writers were fumbling through their vocabularies in search of a way to comprehend what was going on in the joints and bars on 8th Avenue, down Broadway, and along Music Row.  The result of this confusion was such frequent and contradictory terms as “new traditionalism” (Earle, 2002a), “the alternative country movement” (Morse, 1998), “the modern country music movement” (Hilburn, 1981), “rockabilly” (Cooper, 2002a), and “the new country movement” (Shelbume, 2003).

“He (Steve Earle) was frequently lumped in by journalists with Randy Travis and Dwight Yoakam as spearheading the New Traditionalist movement in country music.  That always struck me as funny, lumping those three together, since their music couldn’t have been more different” (Hunt, 2003).

In actuality, Earle’s arrival in Nashville was one of the catalysts in a time more accurately described as the Age of Lyricists, spanning Townes Van Zandt, Guy Clark, Jerry Jeff Walker, Emmylou Harris, David Olney, Rodney Crowell, Lyle Lovett, Nanci Griffith, Richard Dobson, Mark Germino, Jonell Mosser, Steve Fromholz, Don Schlitz, and including, of course, Steve Earle and Rosanne Cash.

“When I got to Nashville in 1974, this place was like a university for songwriters because it was very democratic.  On any given night at somebody’s house, either John Lomax’s house or at Jim McGuire’s Photography Studio, there was a bunch of people sitting around and several guitars going around the room and a jug, you know.  But we were nocturnal; we stayed up all night.  And we played our new songs for each other.  And that stops, for a lot of reasons, within a couple of years after I got here, but you can see anybody from like me and David Olney, who were at absolute street level, to Neil Young in the same room.  And it was a great place to learn how to write songs” (Earle, 2002a).

And how were these lyricists rewarded?

In most cases, ignored with no—or little—airplay.

“Country radio’s always going to have problems with the things I say,” Steve Earle said. “Country radio doesn’t want to say anything” (Earle, 1993).

Early in her recording career, Rosanne Cash encountered trouble as well with radio stations not playing her songs because of such to-the-point lyrics as, “I don’t think you know how bad you treat me/But I can’t live like a whore” from her 1985 album Rhythm & Romance (Cash, 1985).

“Radio stations don’t play my music,” Rosanne Cash said in 2003 (Cash, 2003). 

Rules of Travel, Cash’s latest album, “is unlikely to get much airplay on country stations.  It doesn’t reflect what country music is; it suggests what country music could be.  The album implies that country music doesn’t have to be teenage pop dressed up in cowboy hats and prom-queen hairdos—that it could once again be a music for adults, reflecting their struggles to keep their marriages together and their bills paid, as it was in the days of Hank Williams and Merle Haggard” (Himes, 2003).

“I may alienate some people at times with some issues,” Earle said.  “But I don’t think I’m here to tell people what they want to hear—there’s enough people doing that already.  I think that insults the intelligence of the audience” (Goldsmith, 1990).

As reported in The Tennessean back in 1987, “radio problems cropped up with Earle’s single ‘Sweet Little ’66’, which unfavorably compares the longevity of Hondas and Subarus with the singer’s vintage Chevrolet.  Dealers of those imported cars reportedly complained about the lyrics of the song, which subsequently stopped its upward motion in the country charts” (Goldsmith, 1987). 

“I personally couldn’t care less,” Earle said.  “I hate Hondas and Subarus, that’s why I wrote the song in the first place” (Goldsmith, 1987).  And so goes the lyrics: “Now she ain’t too good on gasoline, she burns a little oil/But she was built by union labor on American soil/Sweet little ‘66/So when your Subaru is over and your Honda’s history/I’ll be blastin’ down some back road with my baby next to me/In my sweet little ’66” (Earle, 1987).

Beyond the larger lyrical movement in Nashville, those in the media as early as 1987 were unable to properly comprehend the motivation behind Earle’s lyrics.  The tendency was to allude to the alleged political nature of Earle’s lyrics by stacking such adjectives in front of his name as “sociopolitical maverick” (Morse, 1998, 3D), “renegade rocker” (Gray, 1998), “purveyor of grittily literate music” (Cooper, 2002a), “Nashville musical renegade” (Cooper, 2000), “grizzled contemporary-country expatriate” (Cooper, 2002b), “radical patriot”(Earle, 2003b), and “maverick country rocker” (Earle, 2003b).

In actuality, all lyrists like Steve Earle and Rosanne Case were trying to do in their music, lyrics, and short fiction was to be empathic towards certain people in our society: the female point of view, certain religions, the lonely, the mentally ill, the aged and dying, the criminal, the mistreated, prison guards, and so on.

“We have a real mission to tell stories that empathize with other people,” said Luke Wallin, the author of such award winning young adult novels as The Redneck Poacher’s Son and The Slavery Ghosts, Wallin is a professor of English at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, an adjunct graduate faculty member with Spalding University, and a senior fellow at the Center for Policy Analysis.

“One of the points of Cash’s story collection, Bodies of Water, is to write about a woman’s inner rhythms, which really isn’t reflected in our world,” Cash said.  “Our world is pretty much set up for the way men process information, and the way men think, and that kind of male, linear mode of being—which we desperately need and in half of reality.  But women, therefore, are made to feel hysterical, or made to feel crazy, because a lot of us don’t think or process in that way” (Roland, 1996, 3D).

Earle agrees:  “I think empathy is exactly what it is and that empathy is definitely endangered in this climate.  Instead, retribution is at a premium.  The songs I’ve written . . .have one thing in common: I’m trying to humanize people that others are trying to demonize, or at least dehumanize.  The notion of empathy versus retribution comes up over and over.  I think you have to forgo retribution to arrive at justice” (Earle, 2003c).

Despite the lack of airplay nowadays, the music of Earle and Cash has been recognized.

Cash had a “decade-long stretch as one of country music’s most notable artists.  Though she has said she felt spurned by the machinery of Music Row, Cash still has bragging rights to eleven No. 1 country hits in the 1980s, from her signature ‘Seven Year Ache’ to the Beatles remake, ‘I Don’t Want to Spoil the Party’. She earned a 1985 Grammy, and her 1987 King’s Record Shop album is considered a classic” (Shelbume, 2003).

In 1975, Steve Earle made his first recording on Guy Clark's Old No. 1 album, playing bass and singing backup on "Desperadoes Waiting for a Train." By the mid-1980s, he was signed with MCA Records and his first album, Guitar Town, came out in 1986.  Many critics hailed him as the missing link between the power of rock and the passion of pure hillbilly music, and the title track made it to No. 7 in Billboard’s Country chart in 1986.  "Guitar Town" became the highest-charting song of Earle's country career.  In 1999, Country.com released "Made in Nashville: 50 Great Albums That Showcase Music City's Diversity."  Guitar Town was on that list.  With that album, Earle enjoyed his first two of nine Grammy nominations to date.  In 1987, he received one for Best Country Male Vocalist (for Guitar Town) and another for Best Country Song (for “Guitar Town”).  The following year, he received two more Grammy nominations. The first was for Best Country Male Vocalist (for Exit 0), and the other one was for Best Country Song (for “Nowhere Road”).  In 1996, his Grammy nomination was for Best Contemporary Folk Album (for Train A Comin'), and he was nominated for Best Contemporary Folk Album (for El Corazón) in 1999. In 2000, his seventh Grammy nomination was for Best Bluegrass Album (for The Mountain).  A year later, he was nominated again for Best Contemporary Folk Album (for Transcendental Blues), and his album Jerusalem earned him his ninth Grammy nomination for Best Contemporary Folk Album. 

With Earle’s songwriting and fiction, his messages have been consistent with equal portions of empathy, intelligence, and attitude. Jerusalem arrived among the wave of rhetoric, music, commentary, and uproar that sweltered between 9/11 and the start of second Gulf War.

“One morning Danny Goldberg, who owns the company (Artemis Records), calls me up and says my next album should be overtly political.  This was a change.  I’ve always gotten phone calls from record companies saying exactly the opposite, like ‘keep a lid on that shit’.  Danny thought there are some things that needed to be said, especially now, in the world after 9/11.  So I told him, ‘well, yeah, man, I can do that’” (Earle, 2003d).   And Jerusalem did just that, taking on HMOs (the widely criticised Health Maintenance Organizations), the prison system, Wall Street, conspiracy theories, and of course, 9/11 with “John Walker’s Blues.”

“John Walker’s Blues” arrived at a time when Nashville country music radio stations were on an endless patriotic loop of the Dixie Chicks’ “Travelin’ Soldier,” Darryl Worley’s “Have You Forgotten,” Toby Keith’s “Courtesy of The Red, White and Blue,” Brooks & Dunn’s “Only in America,” Aaron Tippin’s “Where the Stars and Stripes And Eagle Fly,” and Martina McBride’s “Independence Day.”  The fact that McBride’s song dealt more with domestic violence than with a larger patriotic theme didn’t seem to make much difference, and Tennessee sang along. 

The chatter between the songs dealt with the looming war and the rising cost of gasoline, and then the Dixie Chicks gave a concert in London, England.  Only a handful of months had passed since their latest round of media insanity had ended.  The artists had been suing their record label to let them out of their contract, but that long dispute had ended, the Dixie Chicks had released a new album, 60 Minutes and other primetime news shows were running feature segments, and then Dixie Chicks singer Natalie Maines took the microphone at that London concert:  “Just so you know,” she said, “we’re ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas” (Gerome, 2003, 1D).

The backlash removed the Dixie Chicks from the music loop, and bashing the Chicks became radio’s favorite pastime.  By the time the local radio stations in Nashville were playing the Dixie Chicks again, the United States troops had entered Baghdad, some of the reservists were coming home, and the endless patriotic loop had ended.

“I don’t even know the Dixie Chicks,” Merle Haggard said, “but I find it an insult for all the men and women who fought and died in past wars when almost the majority of America jumped down their throats for voicing an opinion.  It was like a verbal witch-hunt and lynching.  Whether I agree with their comments or not has no bearing” (Hag’s, 2003).

“John Walker’s Blues” never made it on the airwaves, not so much because of the message as because country music radio doesn’t play Steve Earle, regardless of either the song or the message.  The lack of radio play notwithstanding, the lyrics warranted sufficient local and national media buzz.  “I’ve never worn red, white, and blue that well.  I grew up during the Vietnam War and whenever I see a flag decal, I subconsciously superimpose the caption:  AMERICA—LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT across the bottom stripe” (Earle, 2002b).

“John Walker's Blues”

(Steve Earle)

 

I'm just an American boy raised on MTV
And I've seen all those kids in the soda pop ads
But none of 'em looked like me
So I started lookin' around for a light out of the dim
And the first thing I heard that made sense was the word
Of Mohammed, peace be upon him

chorus:
A shadu la ilaha illa Allah
There is no God but God

If my daddy could see me now – chains around my feet
He don't understand that sometimes a man
Has got to fight for what he believes
And I believe God is great, all praise due to him
And if I should die, I'll rise up to the sky
Just like Jesus, peace be upon him

chorus

We came to fight the Jihad and our hearts were pure and strong
As death filled the air, we all offered up prayers
And prepared for our martyrdom
But Allah had some other plan, some secret not revealed
Now they're draggin' me back with my head in a sack
To the land of the infidel

A shadu la ilaha illa Allah
A shadu la ilaha illa Allah

Earle wrote this song “from the perspective of the so-called ‘American Taliban’ John Walker Lindh, or, as the singer states, ‘a twenty-year-old kid who hadn’t eaten for a week’” (“Earle’s blues on film”, Rollingstone.com, 2003).  The following lyrics reveal the first person point of view and the empathy the writer shows for the subject matter: “I'm just an American boy raised on MTV/ And I've seen all those kids in the soda pop ads/ But none of 'em looked like me.”

“All I was doing was trying to humanize him,” Earle said.  “John Walker Lindh deserves to be judged as a human being—not a poster child for what we’re afraid of at the moment.  That scapegoating has always been dangerous” (Earle, 2003c). 

And in the songs, the chorus remains strong and balanced between the East and West, presenting the same message (reverence for God) in both English and Arabic with, “A shadu la ilaha illa Allah/There is no God but God.”

In addition, Earle explores the Man Versus Nature attitude with the lines, “If my daddy could see me now—chains around my feet/He don’t understand that sometimes a man/Has got to fight for what he believes”.  These lines and this attitude creates a sort of subliminal common frame of reference with the listener.

The true weakness of the song is that the lyrics are so honest and raw that the masses, the general public, would never get to benefit from them since no radio is going to play this song, and the message will not get out to the public.  Other than the true Steve Earle devotee, who would ever hear this message and benefit from it?

Beyond the flag waving and saluting of the mainstream music and the lyrical messages of artists like Earle, something else—a calm musical exhale—has been going on in country music, especially with Johnny Cash and Merle Haggard.

“Politics are not good art,” Rosanne Cash said.  “Too much politics in art comes out of self-righteousness or bitterness.  And who gives a shit about that?  Steve Earle, Springsteen, and my dad are among the few artists who can mix the two without affecting the integrity of their work.  It’s organic.  They tend to step into character rather than rail against the system.  And if it resonates, it can change the world” (Alterman, 2003).

While the song “September When It Comes” off Cash’s album Rules of Travel was not political in nature, Cash said that she asked her father to sing part of it with her:  “I said, ‘Dad, I have this song I’d love for you to sign on.’  And he said, ‘Well, I have to read the lyrics first.’  He wanted to make sure that what he was saying was something that was authentic to him” (Cash, 2003).  This is the sort of thoughtfulness required in a time of war, especially among a nation’s artists. 

And above all the noise, there’s Merle Haggard with his political song, “That’s the News.”  “The new song chides the media for focusing on celebrity news . . .while fighting continues in Iraq.  Haggard sings, ‘Suddenly it’s over, the war is finally done/Soldiers in the desert sand still clinging to a gun/No one is the winner and everyone must lose/Suddenly the war’s over, that’s the news.’  The song ends with the lines, ‘Politicians do all the talking, soldiers pay the dues/Suddenly the war is over, that’s the news’” (Gerome, 2003, 1D).

Earle’s structural approach to songwriting and fiction writing are similar:  “I call them (albums) records because that’s how I approach them—as documents with a beginning, a middle, and an end” (Earle, 2002c).  And that approach must have helped him as he created and assembled his 2001 collection of short stories, Doghouse Roses.

According to Earle, the book took shape over several years.  “There’s a story in here called ‘Wheeler County’ in which I actually in a really grandiose moment sometime in the late 1980s decided I was going to write a novel.  And I started it, but what I failed to take into consideration was that I had a pretty time-consuming drug habit at that point in my life and I pawned a lot of stuff, and one of the things I pawned was the computer that it was in, and I never backed it up, so that was the end of my first prose writing career. I got in the trouble that I got into, and I ended up getting locked up.  And I got clean, and I discovered that I had what seemed to me to be an unlimited amount of energy and time because I didn’t have to wake up in the morning and find $500 worth of dope everyday.  I was already writing songs, but anyone who writes anything fears a blank page more than anything else on Earth, and it was just an exercise more than anything else.  I don’t even think that I really intended them for publication.  The first thing I did was reconstruct that story ,‘Wheeler County,’ from memory and discovered that it was only a short story after all.  And then I wrote another one and then another one and then a friend of mine, Alice Randall, wrote The Wind Done Gone…and she had three or four of my stories, and she gave them to her editor who was at another publisher at the time, and he was interested in them.  At that point in time, it sort of conceptually became a book.  And it took six years to write 11 stories” (Earle, 2003a).

Taken as a whole, Earle’s collection reflects his history and demographics.  Eight of his eleven stories deal with characters in motion: travel.  All of his stories deal with the external life.  His protagonists are doing things and going places, his characters don’t internalize how they feel about what they are doing or where they are going.  All of Earle’s protagonists are male, and the gender influences the subject matter. The themes and causes that he champions in his lyrics resonate in his fiction, including race relations, the death penalty, the working class and working poor, Vietnam, and the idea of being on the road.

“One of those stories was adapted from (the song) ‘Taneytown,’ which is told from the perspective of a 22-year-old, retarded black man,” Earle said.  “The premise is that there are rednecks everywhere, not just in the South.  The song came first, but then I went back and reworked the lyrics after I wrote the story.  I fleshed out the characters so much in the story that I was able to do a better job on the lyrics when I rewrote it” (Gray, 1998).

“Taneytown”
(Steve Earle)

I went down to Taneytown
I went down to Taneytown
To see what I could see
My mama told me never go
But I'm almost 22 years old
Sometimes I fear this holler swollow me
She ran off to Gettysburg
Went off with that new beau of hers
I snuck off after dark
Long way down the county road
Stars were bright
The moon was low
Down to where the black top highway starts

Chorus:
I went down to Taneytown
I went down to Taneytown
I went down to see what I could see

I could see everybody stared at me
You'd think that they ain't never seen
A colored boy before
They chunked at me
Called me names
They'd have whipped me sure but the sheriff came
I slipped off through the dry goods store
I ran down Division Street
Some of them boys followed me
Down to the railroad track
Four of them and I cain't fight
But I had my old Randall knife
I cut that boy and I never did look back

Chorus

Cross the fields and woods I run
Like a bullet from a rabbit gun
Back home to my bed
Ma came in from Gettysburg
Her and that new beau of hers
" Boy you look like hell" was all she said

Month went by without a word
Somebody down the holler heard
About that boy they hung
He begged those men to spare his life
But I dropped my bloody Randall knife
He picked it up so they thought he was the one

I went down to Taneytown
I went down to Taneytown
I ain't goin' back there anymore

The story line of the lyrics and the short story run parallel with an important difference: the longer form, as provided through the short story, allowed the author to include additional details, which helped create more empathy for his protagonist in terms of his race and mentally ill status. 

“I took a risk writing the story and a risk doing this song, and I don’t claim to have done it well. . .But just taking the chance made it worthwhile for me” (Earle, 1997).

With the lyrics, race is referred to only once through the following lines: “I could see everybody stared at me/You'd think that they ain't never seen/A colored boy before.” 

With the short story, Earle’s escalated the use of his vocabulary by using the “N” word about twenty times throughout, something that the book reviews in the mainstream media tended not to address.  In the short story, Earle is able to contrast the protagonist’s use of the word as a part of his everyday vocabulary and how the word is used in anger towards him:

I been called a nigger all my life, by all them Mangrums an’ ol’ man Simpson, an’ jus’ about everybody else up in the holler, even james, an’ he a nigger too.  It don’t bother me none.  But the way them Taneytown boys say it, it sound. . . different.  Sound nasty or somethin’.  It make me feel real bad.  Kinda sickly an’ scared inside.  Now they all hollerin’ ‘bout nigger this an’ nigger that an’ I’m powerful scared.  Scared enough, I reckon, to unglue my feet an’  take off runnin’. (Earle, 2001, p.83)

In addition, the author blends the use of the profanity with the way people in the story treat the protagonist, allowing for greater impact.  As the main character is moving through Taneytown, he makes the following observations:

Never in all my life did I see so many people.  They’s all kinda people.  They’s tall people an’ short people an’ old people an’ lil’ chidren an’ mostly they white, but a few of ‘em niggers like me.  An’ everybody busy runnin’ here and there an’ in a great hurry an’ if anybody pay me any mind at all, I cain’t tell.  Some just bump right into me, like to knock me down in the street an’ just keep on goin’, like I ain’t even there.  Make me feel teeny, tiny, an’ kinda lonesome an’ I start missin’ Mama an’ James a lil’ bit, but I just keep on goin’. (Earle, 2001, p.81)

The mental condition of the protagonist is a key bit of detail that could affect the way that some listeners and readers respond to this song and short story. 

            With the lyrics, the protagonist’s mental status is not overtly addressed.  A different sort of relationship between the protagonist and his mother is indicated in the lines, “My mama told me never go/But I'm almost 22 years old/Sometimes I fear this holler swollow me.” And later in the song, the first-person narrator says that “I snuck off after dark.”  This information indicates that there is a dominate/submissive relationship.  Even though the person is 22 years old, his mother tells him what not to do, and when he does something, he indicates that he’s sneaking off.  The interpretation of this is left to the listener.  Without the injection of the mental status, the song’s message is seen exclusively through the prism of race.  With the short story, the mental status is a huge part of the story, with numerous references.  The first appears on page one,

Tommy Mangrum, the one that’s ‘bout my age, use to say how niggers is good luck an’ how I’m double lucky on account of I’m a little slow.  When folks say how I’m slow that don’t mean runnin’ or nothin’.  James say I’m about the fastest thing in this holler when it comes to runnin’ an’ summin’, such stuff as that.  They just mean I’m a little slow in the head.  James say I’m a retard but if anybody else call me that, he’ll whup they ass.  That’s on account of he’s my brother. (Earle, 2001, p.78)

Now, the mental illness is, at least, on equal footing with race, and this new prism helps increase the empathy that the reader feels towards the protagonist.  The protagonist’s  mental handicap allows him to get away with a gritty vocabulary that other characters would not survive, including such words as “a retard,” “Injun,” and “nigger.”  The result is a much more authentic and honest representation of a people and time in America’s history.

“We believe that the point of literature is to represent different people with different points of view, in conflict,” Wallin said.  “If we’re not allowed to do that, we’re not really practicing literature.  More and more, there’s pressure not to use certain words, or maybe not even to take up the point of view of a black person.  I don’t think we can give up our belief in literature and our belief that it broadens people.  It gives people empathy, and if you stop telling stories about the guy over the fence, you’re gonna end up shooting at him.  We have a real mission that tells stories that empathize with other people.  In fiction, there’s a difference between the character, the narrator, and the writer.  The author is not in the story, and the author may be writing the story to show you things that the author disapproves of.  These are just the elementary facts of what we’re doing” (Wallin, 2001).

* * *

Note: In the second part of his article, to appear in Issue 3, the Spring 2005 edition of Chapter&Verse, Roy Burkhead continues his examination of the lyrics and short stories of Steve Earle and Rosanne Cash, including their views and approaches on such topics as the death penalty in the United States, their empathy toward those in opposition to the second Iraq War, and more.

 

References

Alterman, Eric. (2003) “Rules for changing the world”. The Nation, March 6.

Cash, Rosanne. (2003) Interview. Fresh Air. Natl. Public Radio, WPLN, Nashville. June 23.

Cooper, Peter. (2000) “Steve Earle rouses bleary-eyed music pros at Austin conference”. The Tennessean, 16 March, late ed.

Cooper, Peter. (2002a) “The gist of Guitar Town: Steve Earle reflects as landmark album is re-released”. The Tennessean, 6 February, late ed., pp. 1D &3D.

Cooper, Peter (2002b) “Earle’s ‘Guitar Town’ holds up well, still sounds fresh”. The Tennessean, 8 February, late ed.

“Earle’s Blues on Film: New documentary follows aftermath of controversial song”. (2003) Rollingstone.com, 23 June: http://rollingstone.com/news/newsarticle.asp?nid=18191

Earle, Steve. (2001) Doghouse Roses. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company.

Earle, Steve. (2002a) Interview. Fresh Air. Natl. Public Radio, WPLN, Nashville. April 5.

Earle, Steve. (2003a) Interview. Breakfast with the Arts. A&E Television. February 16.

Earle, Steve. (2003b) Interview. Progressive. February, Vol. 67, Issue 2, p.35.
 
Earle, Steve. (2003c) Interview. Tikkun. March/April, Vol. 18, Issue 2, p.59.

Earle, Steve. (2003d) Jerusalem. SteveEarle.com. July 18. http://steveearle.com/bio.html

Gerome, John. (2003) “Haggard single takes aim at media coverage of war in Iraq”. The Tennessean, 26 July, late ed., p. 1D.

Goldsmith, Thomas. (1987) “Rock and country Steve Earle standing at the crossroads”. The Tennessean, 6 December, late ed.

Goldsmith, Thomas. (1990) “Independent Steve Earle speaks and sings his mind”. The Tennessean, 18 November, late ed.

Gray, Michael. (1998) “Feelin’ alright, Earle jams till wee hours”. Nashville Banner, 9 April, late ed.

Hag’s. (2003) Editorial. Merlehaggard.com. July 26. merlehaggard.com/HagEdit.shtml

Himes, Geoffrey. (2003)” Fellow traveler: Rosanne Cash may have left Music Row long behind, but as her fine album proves, country music is at the core of her identity”. Nashville Scene, 24 April, late ed.

Hilburn, Robert. (1981) “Rosanne Cashes in on talent”. Los Angeles Times, 21 March, late ed.

Hunt, Jason. ([email protected]), 27 June 2003. RE: HELP!!!!!!!. E-Mail to author ([email protected]).

Morse, Steve. (1998) “Earle finds his own alternatives: Country-rocker eschews the status quo in music, politics”. The Tennessean, 18 February, late ed., p. 3D.

Roland, Tom. (1996) “Cash back: Former Nashville renegade returns with new book, CD”. The Tennessean, 27 March, late ed., p. 3D.

Shelbume, Craig. (2003) “Rosanne Cash rediscovers her voice on ‘Rules’” CMT.com, 26 March, <http://cmt.com/news/feat/rcash.032403.jhtml>

Wallin, Luke. (2001) “Writing about race in the PC age”. MFA in Writing On-Campus Residency, October, Louisville, Kentucky.

Album References

Cash, Rosanne. (1985) “Second to No One.” Rhythm & Romance. Columbia.

Earle, Steve. (1987) “Sweet Little ’66.” Exit O.  MCA.

Earle, Steve. (1993) Liner Notes from the Album Essential Steve Earle. MCA.

Earle, Steve. (1997) Liner Notes from the Album El Corazon. Warner Brothers.

Earle, Steve. (2002b) Liner Notes from the Album Jerusalem. Artemis.

Earle, Steve. (2002c) Liner Notes from the Album Sidetracks. Artemis.

R. L. Burkhead, MFA
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