Transcendental Blues

( 2 )

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble
Country-rock chameleon Steve Earle has done it again. TRANSCENDENTAL BLUES is as much a feast of sonic surprises as it is a lesson in rock-solid songwriting. This time out, the bad boy with the Dylanesque sandpaper twang has hung up the bluegrass hat he donned for his much-heralded disc THE MOUNTAIN -- only the smooth "Until the Day I Die" hews the high lonesome. Instead, Earle surrounds his incisive lyrics with crunchy guitars and psychedelipop flourishes reminiscent of the Beatles and Tom Petty songbooks. "Transcendental Blues" opens the album with accordion drones and tabla riffs before kicking into a slow, guitar-drenched shuffle. By tune's end, Earle's arrangement employs distorted synthesizer, "Tomorrow Never...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble
Country-rock chameleon Steve Earle has done it again. TRANSCENDENTAL BLUES is as much a feast of sonic surprises as it is a lesson in rock-solid songwriting. This time out, the bad boy with the Dylanesque sandpaper twang has hung up the bluegrass hat he donned for his much-heralded disc THE MOUNTAIN -- only the smooth "Until the Day I Die" hews the high lonesome. Instead, Earle surrounds his incisive lyrics with crunchy guitars and psychedelipop flourishes reminiscent of the Beatles and Tom Petty songbooks. "Transcendental Blues" opens the album with accordion drones and tabla riffs before kicking into a slow, guitar-drenched shuffle. By tune's end, Earle's arrangement employs distorted synthesizer, "Tomorrow Never Knows" drums, and round, plodding bass riffs to highlight his tale of spiritual transformation. It's a foreboding and impressive taste of what is to come on this 15-track tour de force. Earle's got a huge game -- as the punk attitude of "All of My Life," the roots rock of "Another Town," the folksy fingerstyle "Over Yonder Jonathan's Song," and the Dylan harp on "Steve's Last Ramble" attest -- but he never forgets that the song is the thing. As titles such as "Halo 'Round the Moon" suggest, TRANSCENDENTAL BLUES finds redemption and spiritual peace growing out of desperate, desolate landscapes. Earle's well-chronicled personal struggles appear to have granted him an appreciation for the calm after a storm. We are better for his revelations. This is a frighteningly good record. Karl Hagstrom Miller
All Music Guide - Michael Cusanelli
Steve Earle is a rebel. Not in the Hollywood/James Dean/Easy Rider
ebel-against-society sense, but rather in a real and personal way. Throughout his life and career he has rebelled against the very industry that surrounded him and did not find the freedom he sought until he started his own label, E-Squared. He rebelled against his common sense and his health in search of true American artistry and did not find the freedom he sought until he hit the bottom of addiction, and he continues to rebel against mainstream American culture and politics with his attitudes and songs; Transcendental Blues is no exception. Transcendental Blues walks the line between Steve Earle the country-rock rebel who gave the world Copperhead Road and Guitar Town and Steve Earle the traditionalist who opened a new chapter in bluegrass with his last release, The Mountain. This album rocks with songs like "Everyone's in Love with You" and "All My Life." It soothes with "The Boy Who Never Cried" and "Lonelier Than This," and it two-steps with new country like "The Galway Girl" and "Until the Day I Die." Fans of alternative country music sing the praises of artists like Charlie Robison, Jack Ingram, and Robert Earl Keen, Jr., but Earle proves again and again that he is the original alternative to the glossy side of Nashville. Earle cut the path that all his followers thankfully hike along, avoiding the weeds and branches that made him what he is today.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 6/6/2000
  • Label: Artemis Records
  • UPC: 699675103323
  • Catalog Number: 51033
  • Sales rank: 1,491

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Steve Earle Primary Artist, Acoustic Guitar, Guitar, Mandolin, Electric Guitar, Harmonium, Vocals, Mini Moog, Guitar (12 String Acoustic)
Ray Kennedy Electric Guitar
Jim Murray Gut String Guitar
Sharon Shannon Accordion
David Angell Violin
Benmont Tench Organ, Piano
James Blennerhassett Upright Bass
Noel Bridgeman Drums
John Catchings Cello
Dennis Crouch Upright Bass
David Davidson Violin
Doug Lancio Electric Guitar
Kelly Looney Bass
Tim O'Brien Mandolin, Vocals
Will Rigby Percussion, Drums
Kristin Wilkinson Conductor, Viola
Mary Shannon Banjo
Tom Littlefield Vocals
David Steel Bouzouki, Electric Guitar, Resonator
Bill Wright Bouzouki
David Steele Bouzouki, Electric Guitar, Guitar (12 String Electric)
Stacey Earle Vocals
Patrick Earle Percussion, Drums
Liz Kane Fiddle
Yvonne Kane Fiddle
Dan Metz Bass
Casey Driessen Fiddle
Technical Credits
Ray Kennedy Engineer
Steve Earle Liner Notes
Kristin Wilkinson String Arrangements, String Conductor
Ciaran Byrne Engineer
Brad Talbott Art Direction
Paul Smith Engineer
Twangtrust Producer
Tony Fitzpatrick Illustrations, Cover Art
Hank Williams Mastering
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    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.

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  • Anonymous

    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...

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews