Over the years, I’ve seen many a great in-store at Grimey’s which my #1 reason is why their move across the river to East Nashville was a downer for me. The longer drive through rush hour traffic to make it there by 6pm grieved me, and busy work days may make me miss a few that’d I like to see. However, neither work nor snarl on the road was going to make me miss Steve Earle on this late spring Thursday evening.
Steve’s latest is Guy, his covers LP in tribute to the late Guy Clark, one of his two main musical mentors when he moved to Nashville from Texas as a wide-eyed teenager. A few years back, Earle had done a similar thing with Townes, honoring his co-mentor, Townes Van Zandt. Not that he didn’t have it in him anyway, Steve has remarked how he just couldn’t meet Guy on the other side without doing this record after having done the one for Townes.
Earle’s in-store was certainly one of the most well-attended I’ve ever seen with the line of reserved attendees (who purchased the vinyl or CD from the store) careening around the building. By show time, the room was about as full as it could be. Vinylist and store co-owner Doyle Davis introed Steve remarking how it was his first Grimey’s in-store although Earle would later say that he did one at the old store. I certainly don’t recall one, and doubt that I would have missed it. I do however remember seeing Steve in the crowd for an appearance by his son Justin at the old location on Eighth.
Earlier in the year, I had seen Steve’s annual winter residency at the City Winery where I first learned about Guy and heard a few of the songs for the first time. Today’s six-song set was of course again solo which rings true to the spirit of the original Clark versions. I also again got to hear the “pork” story of Steve’s last meeting with Guy. The moral of the story is that even on their death bed, a true Texan will remain true to the fact that brisket is the real barbeque.
As always, Steve Earle was as entertaining between songs as he is during them. We learned tonight how the band learned these songs during soundchecks on the last tour, and that they would soon be touring the new record. As delightful as it will be to hear the band versions of these songs, to hear them locally this tour, one will have to out up with the nuisance of having to go to, as Steve called it, “Throw-Up on the Green.” I know that I’m not alone in saying that while Lightning 100’s free “Live on the Green” is much appreciated, it has been spoiled by its success. As the late Yogi Berra used to say, “No one goes there any more, it’s too crowded.” The size and behavior of today’s crowd at Grimey’s was just right!
- Dublin Blues
- Texas 1947
- Rita Ballou
- The Last Gunfighter Ballad
- Desperados Waiting for a Train
- LA Freeway
Steve Earle – Vocals and Acoustic Guitar