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Posted October 1, 2010
Not-So-Transcendental Blues a 'Must Have' for Steve Fans
To follow up the superb songwriting and rough polish of Steve Earle's last gem, 'The Mountain', was no easy task. With his newest CD, 'Transcendental Blues' it's clear that Steve Earle has decidedly left the buttoned up bluegrass set behind, but not too far behind. I got my first listen when Steve appeared on Letterman in May -- (look for another appearance in early July). The newly transcended Steve looks an awful lot like the pre-Mountain Steve, and sounds a lot like him too. For the Letterman spot, Steve performed the title track, 'Transcendental Blues', and I must say I was a little worried¿ I found the song monotonous and boring. When the CD arrived in the mail I tore it open and popped it in the CD player. Although the first few tracks *are* very monotonous, once Steve gets these mundane songs out of his system, 'Transcendental Blues' proves a very rich and diverse CD. This release has something special for every Steve Earle fan. 'Transcendental Blues' is a folk-rock-country-bluegrass fusion collaboration packed with 14 songs, and most of the tunes land in familiar Earle territory. Steve has reportedly spent a lot of time in Ireland lately, and it comes through on every song. It's a real treat to pick out all the different instruments -- accordion, bagpipes, triangle(!), mandolin, harmonica, tin whistle, to name a few. But don¿t get me wrong, this CD has a decidedly ROCK tone. Included is one official bluegrass tune -- along with a sarcastic afterthought seemingly vented at bluegrass legend and former 'Mountain' contributor Del McCoury - rumored to have a rift with Steve over his use of foul language. It would be hard to iron the 'vulgarity' out of Steve, even when you trade his t-shirt and cigarette for a suit and pipe. All in all, 'Transcendental Blues' won't move heaven or earth, but it is a must have for all Steve fans. Renegade Steve is back, with a familiar if not 'transcendental' sound.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 1, 2010
It don't get any lonelier than this.
Steve Earle is way out there all by himself, twisting together blues, bluegrass and celtic influences and making them his own. Though there are traces of each, this is even better than El Corazon and The Mountain. I just can't get enough of this stuff...Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.