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Transcendental Blues
     

Transcendental Blues

4.5 2
by Steve Earle
 

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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

Overview

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

Editorial Reviews

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.

Product Details

Release Date:
06/06/2000
Label:
Artemis Records
UPC:
0699675103323
catalogNumber:
51033

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Steve Earle   Primary Artist,Acoustic 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

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