Last updated: 25
buzzed the tape forward to Steve Earle's 'Fearless Heart,' with its intricate
swagger. No one but Steve Earle for her in the worst times.
There was a thump in her blood, a sexual hip in her movement, when she
heard any of his songs of furious loss."
From Michael Ondaatje's Anil's Ghost
be I'm just some Big City sucker for a hard-rocking, Nietzsche-reading,
Che Guevara-quoting redneck country singer, but ... if Steve Earle isn't
a Great American, he'll have to do until the real thing comes along."
Mark Jacobson, Men's Journal
Steve Earle does everything he does with intelligence, creativity, passion,
and integrity. In music, these strengths have earned him comparisons
to Bruce Springsteen, the ardent devotion of his fans, and the admiration
of the media. And Earle does a lot: he is a singer, songwriter,
producer, social activist, teacher ... He's not only someone who makes
great music; he's someone to believe in. With the publication of
his first collection of short stories, Doghouse Roses, he gives
us yet another reason to believe.
Earle is a songwriter's songwriter, and here he takes his writing gift
into another medium, along with all the grace, poetry, and deep feeling
that has made his music honored around the world.
note: 'ARC' = "Advance
Reading Copy"... a.k.a. 'ARP' ("Advance Reader's Proof")... a.k.a. 'galley',
"Pick any means of transportation, public
or private, over land, sea, or air. No matter which direction you
travel, it takes three hours to get out of L.A. Yeah, I know there
are all those folks with a head start for the Grapevine out in Northridge
and Tarzana, but hell, those places are only luminescent names on big green
signs seemingly suspended in midair above the 101 Freeway to those of us
in the trenches, the real Angelenos."
"Harley Watts looked down a long, flat
stretch of Interstate-40 west of Shamrock, Texas, the way a man would size
up an old acquaintance from across a crowded barroom. You know, that
one ambiguous instant between the time you see them and they see you when
you have to decide whether you're glad to see them or not. Actually,
Harley and I-40 were more than casual acquaintances."
"The American sat alone on a rickety stool
at a food stall in the central market eating a chile relleño with
rice and beans, served all together in the same terra-cotta bowl.
He spoke flawless Spanish with a central Mexico accent and his skin was
tanned a deep dark brown, so only his height betrayed his ethnicity.
Down here the mesitizos average five feet five or five feet six at best,
and the full-blooded Indians are even shorter."
"It's springtime up in our holler.
I been fishin' down to the creek already. It'd be warm enough to
go swimmin' 'fore long. When I was lil', I'd just shuck out my overhauls
an' jump in nekid. Mama say I'm too big for that now."
Billy The Kid
"This town has gone to hell. I'm
not talkin' about all that shit they built downtown along lower Broadway
like the Hard Rock, Planet Hollywood, and the NASCAR Café.
That kind of stuff's all right, I guess. I mean, if you're into that
kind of thing."
"The American walked into a coffeehouse
in Bergen, Norway, and took a seat at a table just inside the front door.
He was tall and gaunt, well over six feet, all angles and shadows with
only a trace of gray here and there in his longish dark brown hair and
beard to show for his forty-odd years. He wore the expatriate bohemian
uniform – jeans, black cotton sweater, denim jacket, and Doc Martens (although
cowboy boots were sometimes substituted)."
The Red Suitcase
"Nothing lasts forever. Not even
in a small town. His name was Will'm – or probably William, but his
childlike pronunciation of his own given name had stuck with most of the
locals over the years. They all called him Will'm and only a few
knew his last name or remembered a time when he wasn't a fixture in their
A Eulogy Of
"Harold Mills died last night, alone in
his $75-a-week room at the Drake Motel, and I'm probably the only motherfucker
on Murfreesboro Road that misses him. Hell, I'm the only one that
knows he's gone. I just happened to pull up in front of his room
just as the EMTs carried him out with a sheet over his face."
"There is an American at the Caravelle
Hotel in Ho Chi Minh City. The management has asked him to leave.
He refuses. Come at once."
"The last six miles of the drive from
the city out to the state penitentiary was a dark, lonely stretch of two-lane
blacktop winding through a no man's land of second-growth timber and fallow
farmland – a kind of airlock between prison and the free world. The
road itself was well maintained by inmate labor, smooth and even, and the
late-model Lincoln glided along as if on black ice. The driver expected
no traffic coming from the penitentiary this time of night (it was just
after 10:00 P.M.) and he met none."
"The first time he saw her he loved her.
Even then, as he resolved to press his suit for her, he was painfully aware
from experience on both sides of the battlefield that he was utterly defenseless.
He was habitually reckless in affairs of the heart, so he wasn't surprised
at how easily he fell, only that he loved her selflessly and without condition."