Steve Earle: The Color of Country

Steve Earle, a Lone Star Everyman, delivers the goods

What's the trouble with country? Too much flag waving in the music. Too many soft hearts and not enough hard heads. Too many singers opening theme parks. Too much corn, not enough conscience. Hearts all out of the music and onto the sleeves of stage costumes heavy with fringe and rhinestones. Nashville's a suburb of Vegas, and the sweetheart of the rodeo has moved to that notorious drive in Beverly Hills.

At least one other trouble is worth mentioning: there is only one Steve Earle. He has just made his first album, he hasn't had a Top Ten single, and he...

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