SONIC WAVES…Steve Earle/Shut Up & Die Like A Aviator

Steve Earle circa  1991 could and would kick the shit out of you and than  drag your ass down Copperhead Road as  this dude was badass! My intro to Earle was Copperhead Road as I had seen him on some CMT interview plugging that album back in 1988.He looked like Axl Roses Cousin and Earle was sporting a Apettite  For Destruction tshirt so I figured what the hell? I could put my Iron Maiden albums away for a few minutes and check out this Earle fellas release and guess what it was a very good record! So when Earle put out The Hard Way in 1990 I picked it up and it too was a good album! WTF I’m expanding my musical horizons…….

So in Septemeber of 1991 and Earle drops the gauntlet and releases a live album and man I love live albums as long as the mix is good and  the mix on this  is fantastic as well and the bonus fact is that he recorded this album in London And Kitchener Ontario as Earle had sold a shitload of albums in Canada alone….

Lets get on the back of Earles pickup truck and shotgun a six pack down the hatch and crank this live gem!

GETTIN TOUGH- Steve and The Dukes get the party rolling and Steve is pulling out all the stops on this cruncher of a number ! Cool chorus,actually a real cool chorus and Steve is a good Ol boy Gettin Tough and ya you can ask him,I aint!

DEVILS RIGHT HAND- Earle and the Dukes are saying yer sellin your soul to the devil? Well watch out cuz ol Satan will backhand ya across your mouth and boot you into tomorrow if your not careful! Cool guitars and cool dude on the lap steel. I don’t ever want to call this country rock. I just call it Rawk!

I AINT EVER SATISFIED- great song,with cool keyboards and it rocks in a different way and one thing becomes evidently clear is Earle is a master at lyric crafting! Cool use of backing vocals as well in this song. Whoever the lady is on this she’s good!

SOMEDAY- Steve tells us there ain’t much to do in this here town. Cool strum action on the ol acoustic and than it all melds together with the rest of song. And yep I already mentioned lyric crafting this one is even better than the one I just mentioned( I Aint Ever Satisfied) this has to be one of my faves of Earles and man we can all relate when he says I need to get out here Someday! F*#kin rights Brother!

WEST NASHVILLE BOOGIE-cool opening riff and this song is a good straight ahead rocker of a track. Love the riff on this it just keeps the song going and going and that’s Steve pushing to the tune pass the 7 minute mark! Eat that Garth Brooks!

SNAKE OIL- cool title  Snake Oil man I could say that  all day! This song sound like it could been sandwiched somewhere on Gunners  Use Your Illusions between a few Izzy Stradlin numbers! Great no b.s song. Cool stuff and it was good to see Earle smashing around in Canada on the Hard Way Tour!

STANDIN ON THE CORNER(BLUE YODEL #9)- this is just Steve and his mandolin strumming for a little over a minute and he does his southern drawl countdown of 1-2-3 into….

THE OTHER KIND- leadoff single from The Hard Way and its a great track on the chorus Earle just gives er his all and it almost sounds like he downed some scotch with a pack of razor blades! Great song and Stevey isn’t letting up!

BILLY AUSTIN-is a true story of a fugitive and that’s the thing with Earle is he’s a storyteller first and foremost and he goes on about Austin being persecuted by the law for a murder. Yes sir…I’m enrolled at the Earle Justice Law Firm and he has more,check out Justice In Ontario off of  The Hard Way if ya don’t believe me.

COPPERHEAD ROAD-yep the biggie  album title track single from Earle that got ol Dekester interested and it worked. Great song and hey another cool story! Like why not! Can’t ya smell the whiskey burnin from Copperhead Road? Great use of a mandolin and mixing it with all things rock and it kicks yours,mine and all our asses everywhere!

FEARLESS HEART- Steve slams the brakes on his pick up after he’s clocked at going over 100 mph down Copperhead Road and shows us the listener that he can slow it down and perhaps just perhaps this may just be my fav tune off of Shut Up And Die …hell a slower paced tune….listen to the vid posted above and that is indeed the album cover. Cool cover as well kinda metalish looking. The cover itself can boot ya real hard!

GUITAR TOWN-guess this is the song that put Earle on the map in the Great White North before 88. Pretty neat guitar riff and of course Earle and the Dukes rock it out live. If you haven’t heard Guitar Town by now …..get a life!

I LOVE YOU TOO MUCH-ha your probably thinking a ummm gasp ballad..nope this is a barrom little stomper that just when you about to leave the bar someone shouts ‘Last Call’ and Tbone responds with “Alcohol!!! ‘ yippity  ky yeh mother*%ker!”

SHES ABOUT A MOVER- ge’ez us some one jacked up the Hammond B3 and this one just rocks it up. Steve and the fellas aren’t letting up and man this song just slithers along and man it makes me wish I was there that night in either London or Ladanos backyard at which this disc was recorded!

THE RAIN CAME DOWN-this is a mid tempo song that perhaps was it ever a single? I dunno but it coulda been one that’s for sure! Steve is at his best man strumming his guitar and just having a good time,naaaa make that a real good time!

DEAD FLOWERS-the Dukes and Steve lay it all on the line with this Stones cover and that’s if I hadn’t known this was a Mick/Keef cover I would have thought it was Steves own and that my pals is a great thing when a artist can take a cover tune twist it around somewhat and make it sound his own! Bottom of the ninth bases loaded and Steve clobbers a fastball over the centre field wall. Friends he has hit the slam ! What a way to end the show!

IN CONCLUSION -If I was a betting man I betcha you would have thought you would ever see a Sonic Waves review other than someone hard rock right?! Well fool ya all! I have been thinking about writing this one for a while now and boy I’m  glad I did and basically Mike   knows a dude who works for Earle so this review spurred me on. Earle and The Dukes are awesome on this and man I wish I couda caught the tour back in 1990! Give this one a spin people and don’t bother with current country boy outfits like the Florida Georgia One Hitters or what ever the fuck those ass clowns are called. Kick it loud with the Dukes! They’ll show  you how it’s done and them some!


10 thoughts on “SONIC WAVES…Steve Earle/Shut Up & Die Like A Aviator”

      1. Live Bootleg is such an amazing album. I think it was one of the first you reviewed here? It’s really great, and I love the rawness of the early stuff, like Mother Popcorn.


      1. That’s OK man, I enjoy your writing because it’s not about the grammar and punctuation as much as it is about your STYLE. Grammar and punctuation can be learned, but style comes naturally, or it doesn’t. I like the unique phrases you come up with, I like your descriptions, and I love the way you incorporate stories into the reviews. That’s something I have done to a limited degree, but I’ve mostly kept stories separate.


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