As he nears 60 years of age, Steve Earle is a bearded musical buddha. He's also most certainly one of the greatest living songwriters. His career hasn't been as lengthy as that of Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen or Merle Haggard, but since he hit the scene in the mid-1980s with the massive country hit "Guitar Town," Earle began what can easily be argued as the best album-for-album body of work of any grizzled vet touring today.
The past decade has seen Earle go from hating on George W to loving the folkie life of a Greenwich Village-dweller to remembering his dear friend and hero Townes Van Zandt. His most recent works, however, haven't been exactly rich stories revolving around the people in the state he grew up in until his move to Music City in the mid 1970s. Sure, artists evolve, and his evolution has been a satisfying one, as his most recent album, The Low Highway, is a fantastic mix of roots, rock, storytelling and expert lyricism that's almost too predictable from him, though such predictability is welcome. With Earle bringing his band, the Dukes and Duchesses, to the Granada Theater for a show Saturday night, what better time than now to take a look back on Earle's best Tex-centric tunes.