Steve Earle's style has bridged the gap between country and rock music, resulting in a unique, cross-genre sound that has set him apart from "by-the-book" performance artists. His innovative techniques, combined with his reluctance to conform to standard propelled him to the forefront of both the country and rock music scenes in just a few short years. Earle has crossed boundaries and pushed limits that others never dared. His talent led to producing two of his most critically acclaimed albums ever, Guitar Town and Transcendental Blues. He has also written songs for country stars Johnny Lee and Patty Loveless.
Stephen Fain Earle was born on January 17, 1955 at Fort Monroe in Hampton, Virginia. He received his first guitar at age 11 and in two years had mastered the instrument. At 14, Steve met Townes Van Zandt, who inspired him to make music his career and in 1975, he moved to Nashville to make his dream a reality.
Earle's first known professional recording was with Guy Clark on his 1975 album Old No. 1. Steve sang back-up vocals with Rodney Crowell, Sammy Smith, and Emmylou Harris. After the album was released, Steve toured with Guy for nearly two years. A few months later, he landed his first publishing deal with Sunbury Dunbar (a division of RCA), where he received $75 per week as a staff writer. Steve almost had his song "Mustang Wine" recorded by Elvis Presley in 1975, but Elvis never showed up for the session. Engineer Carl Perkins recorded the song the following year.
In 1986, Earle released Guitar Town on MCA Records. The album received outstanding reviews and brought Steve his first two Grammy nominations: 1987's Best Country Male Vocalist (for the album) and Best Country Song (for "Guitar Town"). Steve was also named 1986's Country Artist of The Year in Rolling Stone Magazine's Critics Poll. Earle's critically acclaimed Exit 0 was released in 1987. The album resulted in Steve's third and fourth Grammy nominations: 1988's Best Country Male Vocalist (for the album) and Best Country Song (for "Nowhere Road"). Copperhead Road followed in 1988, which contained the commercial U.S. title track single "Copperhead Road", which was targeted exclusively to rock radio.
In 1991, Steve recorded Shut Up and Die Like an Aviator, which was the last album he released with MCA. Soon after he began to work on his own acoustic composition, an album entitled Train A Comin'. The record was nominated for a 1996 Grammy in the Contemporary Folk album category. He then went on to produce I Feel Alright, El Corazón, The Mountain, Jerusalem, and Transcendental Blues, which all grabbed Grammy nominations. Earle's latest album, Washington Square Serenade (2007), is a collection of songs that reach to the heart of Americanism. Its lyrics and melodies speak of possibilities for a better world and capture the essence of Earle himself, as well as the hopes and dreams of an entire nation.
These days, Earle and his wife, singer songwriter Allison Moorer, live in Steve's adopted hometown of New York where they perform frequently together. They also participate in events such as post-Hurricane Katrina relief and anti-war movements. Throughout the years, Earle has been a strong voice both musically and politically, something he intends to continue now and into the future.
"All the vocals on my last album were recorded through a killer U-67 that has been in Electric Lady Studios" collection since they opened their doors in 1970. Needless to say, the bar was pretty high when I went looking for a new mic for my home rig. I'm now using a Global Pre with the VIN-67 capsule and it kicks ass."