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Revolution Starts...Now

The Revolution Starts...Now

4.0 6
by Steve Earle

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Increasingly political with each new album, Steve Earle is storming the Bastille like never before on The Revolution Starts...Now, examining the lives of both the common folk and the profiteers whose misguided morality enmeshes us in horrors unforeseen. As per the latter, consider the plight of the truck driver in the jaunty, country rock–driven "Home to


Increasingly political with each new album, Steve Earle is storming the Bastille like never before on The Revolution Starts...Now, examining the lives of both the common folk and the profiteers whose misguided morality enmeshes us in horrors unforeseen. As per the latter, consider the plight of the truck driver in the jaunty, country rock–driven "Home to Houston": He goes to Iraq hoping to make a buck, unaware of the terror awaiting him, and finds himself scrambling to get home in one piece -- "then I won't drive a truck anymore." Earle's bemused attitude seems to mock the trucker, whose mercenary roll of the dice didn't pay off. Similarly, "The Gringo's Tale," a finger-picked shuffle given added grandeur by a Beatlesque string quartet, is another of Earle's family epics about a mercenary (he references fighting in Grenada and Nicaragua) following in his forebears' footsteps only to find himself on the run, with a price on his head for his subversive activities. Conversely, the lilting, mid-tempo "Rich Man's War" sympathizes with exploited underclass youths "sent off to fight a rich man's war," whether it be an American who enlists hoping to find a direction in life only to find that life unwind, or young Arabs whose immersion in an atmosphere of fear leads inevitably to suicide bombings. And for specificity, there's "Condi, Condi," a whimsical, tropical-flavored ditty addressed to an uptight national security adviser, and a furious, grungy, profane screed, "F the CC." Emmylou Harris sits in on a poignant, folk-styled bit of self-assessment, "Comin' Around," and Earle offers up a lovely, bittersweet love song, "I Thought You Should Know," to round out his most provocative state of the union/state of the heart address yet.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Mark Deming
Nine years after he returned to active duty in music following a four-year "lost weekend" brought on by drugs and a stay in jail, Steve Earle is not only a stronger and more prolific artist than ever, but he's become nearly as well known for his outspoken political activism as he is for his music. Given this, it's appropriate that The Revolution Starts...Now sounds like a sequel to his previous studio album, 2002's Jerusalem. While Jerusalem explicitly dealt with the fear, paranoia, and political malaise that gripped America after September 11, 2001, The Revolution Starts...Now picks up as America finds itself stuck in an ill-conceived war in Iraq, with a presidential election looming on the horizon. The songs that explicitly deal with the Iraq war are the album's highlights, especially the high-spirited "Home to Houston" (which manages to find a glimmer of humor in its tale of a Texas boy driving a truck on the front lines) and "Rich Man's War" (which speaks of soldiers who find themselves holding the short end of the stick on both sides of the national divide); Earle's storytelling sense meshes well with the chaos and futility of battle, and he shows a genuine compassion for the regular guys who do the work for the power brokers who set up the war. Somewhat less effective is his (apparently) facetious proclamation of lust for Condoleeza Rice ("Condi, Condi," which goes on longer than it needs to and proves reggae isn't Earle's strong suit) and "F the CC," a solid bit of hard rock ranting that somehow seems to lose its point along the way. But the title tune (which bookends the album in two versions) is a loud-and-proud anthem of hope and change that's powerful election year listening, and Earle and his band -- Eric "Roscoe" Ambel on guitar, Will Rigby on drums, and Kelly Looney on bass -- tear into these songs with the enthusiasm and aggression of a hungry man attacking his breakfast. And while Earle likes to joke that he's put a moratorium on songs about girls, "I Thought You Should Know" is a lean and powerful meditation on jealousy and love gone bad that's a welcome change of pace in this context. The Revolution Starts...Now isn't up to the standards of the less theme-specific I Feel Alright or El Corazón, but Earle's polemics are much stronger than the work of your typical "protest" songwriter, and this is a better focused and more passionate work than Jerusalem, though one somehow doubts that the man who needs to hear this the most, George W. Bush, will be putting this on his stereo anytime soon.
Rolling Stone - Milo Miles
The Revolution Starts...Now is easily the most potent roar about Iraq so far.

Product Details

Release Date:
Artemis Records


  1. The Revolution Starts...
  2. Home to Houston
  3. Rich Man's War
  4. Warrior
  5. The Gringo's Tale
  6. Condi, Condi
  7. F the CC
  8. Comin' Around
  9. I Thought You Should Know
  10. The Seeker
  11. The Revolution Starts Now

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Steve Earle   Primary Artist,Organ,Guitar,Harmonica,Harmonium,Vocals,Mandola
Emmylou Harris   Vocals
Eric Ambel   Guitar,Vocals,Group Member
David Angell   Violin
Kelly Looney   Bass,Bass Guitar,Vocals,Group Member
Will Rigby   Percussion,Drums,Vocals,Group Member
Chris Carmichael   Conductor,Viola
David Henry   Cello
Patrick Earle   Percussion,Group Member
Edward O. Henry   Violin
Dave Kissner   Hand Clapping,Shouts
Bruce Kronenberg   Hand Clapping,Shouts
Dave Nokken   Hand Clapping,Shouts

Technical Credits

Ray Kennedy   Producer,Engineer,Audio Production
Steve Earle   Composer,Producer,Audio Production
Chris Carmichael   Arranger
Brad Talbott   Art Direction,Illustrations
Tony Fitzpatrick   Cover Art
Greg "Chief" Frahn   Guitar Techician

Customer Reviews

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The Revolution Starts...Now 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
You don't have to buy into Earle's politics to like his music, but I suppose it helps. TRS...N covers a lot of ground and styles and accomplishes most of what it sets out to do. It is sarcastic (Condi, Condi), profane (F the CC) and searing (Warrior). Home to Houston fits into that classic genre of truck driving song, I wish Johnny Cash were still around to sing it, it is really good. Given that the liner notes have an explictly political message, most of the music is less political (i.e. anti-Bush) than being simply anti-war. This is bad? Given that so little current music has any political context, Earle is a breath of fresh air. He deals with issues of class (see, Rich Man's War) at a truly authentic level. The music itself is very good, but I admit that if you don't agree with his world-view you may well have a different take.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Steve Earle says what needs to be said about the state of American affairs. Thomas Jefferson said that it was important to have periodic revolutions in this country in order to shake up the status quo which he feared would become entrenched and consider its own interests above those of the rank and file. Steve Earle is a spokesman for the rank and file. The music is pretty good, too...
Guest More than 1 year ago
steve earle is one of the outstanding songwriters of our time his songs catch the spirit of their subject. this is a excellent cd from top to bottom.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A childish attempt to sound topical. The f-word and badly stated political metaphor is better left to Fox news. Avoid this tripe like the plague.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The founding fathers were adamant that we question authority. Steve Earle has moved past the blind, ignorant farce of 'patriotism' being used as a tool by the administration (a la Goering) to promote their agenda that's made the US no safer while losing over 1000 American soldier's lives. Bravo to a REAL American for daring to write such bold, honest songs for the Common Man.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago