If the idea is that earth, water, fire, air and space constitute the core elements of life, then these five songs might seem as their equivalents to surviving the complications that come from embracing the good and enduring the ugly of the Christmas season.
Clean and sober, Earle's prolific string of seven albums in nine years has been nothing short of masterful. It has also usurped the first half of his career: Earle, formerly competent songwriter, now makes sonically adventurous records with political and social conscience.
Amos Poe had a terrific chance to put together the definitive profile of an artist who is at the peak of his career, producing great music, prose, and drama at such a prolific rate as he'd never done before.
Just an American Boy cements Earle's status as one of the most vital, brave singer-songwriters of the past couple of decades, and also one of the most prolific, as this album is his seventh stalwart effort in the past eight years.
Steve Earle has always been a guy who is never afraid to shoot his mouth off, and with 'Jerusalem', his timing is perfect, as his own razor-sharp words slice through the shallow slop of almost all 9-11-inspired music that has come out to date.
On first blush, it would seem Steve Earle might need more than a doghouse rose to make up for foisting this book on his fans. By the end, you realize the book 'itself' is a doghouse rose. 'It ain't much,' you can imagine him saying as he hands it over, 'but I did it for you.'"