Live Review: Steve Earle & The Dukes @ The Birchmere — 7/20/21

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Steve Earle performs at The Birchmere on July 20, 2021. (Photo by Ari Strauss)

Steve Earle has been playing The Birchmere regularly for decades, since even before his debut album, 1986’s Guitar Town. He first visited the famed northern Virginia venue when he was playing bass in his mentor’s, Guy Clark, band. (Steve’s other mentor was the brilliant but deeply troubled songwriter Townes Van Zandt.) On Tuesday evening, Earle and his band, The Dukes (get it? it’s a pun on the early rockabilly song “Duke of Earl”) played the first of two nights at the club.

In the three and a half decades since the release of Guitar Town,  Steve Earle has created a deeply respected and wide-ranging body of work. A self-described “cult artist,” his songwriting is held in the highest esteem by other writers, musicians, and artists. Although Steve may have left school after the eighth grade, his work is informed by a prodigious mind that delves incessantly into literature, history, and current politics. There’s a fearsome intelligence in his work, which has been noted by interviewers like Chris Shifflett, who has hosted Earle several times on his podcast, Walking the Floor

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Live Review: Justin Townes Earle @ The Birchmere — 10/2/19

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Justin Townes Earle (Photo by Joshua Black Wilkins)

“How the fuck y’all doin’?” the inimitable Justin Townes Earle boisterously addressed the audience at The Birchmere at the beginning of his set recently. A fan shouted, “You look better!” at Justin, who sported a goatee and a new, shorter haircut. Sassily, Justin replied, “I know that, baby.”

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