Steve Earle to Reissue Debut Album 'Guitar Town' on 30th Anniversary

Package will feature a live concert recording from 1986

Steve Earle, in 1986, will reissue his debut album 'Guitar Town' in honor of its 30th anniversary. Credit: Ebet Roberts/Redferns

In 1986, Steve Earle's debut LP, Guitar Town, was one of the albums that reenergized and redefined country music in the genre's dreary post-Urban Cowboy days. The raw, twang-fueled guitars and Earle's blue-collar lyrics heralded a movement toward neo-traditionalism that would turn Earle, Dwight Yoakam and others into country-rock superstars, leading to what Earle himself would humorously label country music's "Great Credibility Scare." Upon its release, the album topped the country chart and would go on to score a pair of Grammy nominations. It also earned a spot among Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time

On October 14th, MCA Nashville/UMe will celebrate the 30th anniversary of Guitar Town with the release of a two-disc, deluxe edition of the album featuring the LP remastered from the original tapes and a previously unreleased 19-song live show recorded on the Guitar Town Tour at the Park West in Chicago in 1986. The concert will also be available on its own as a double LP on 180-gram vinyl.

"It took a long time, but my dreams came true when I played a WXRT dollar show on the stage of the Park West in Chicago," Earle tells Rolling Stone Country. "The place was full and I played my whole album and everything I'd written for the second album and ran out of songs. I had to come out with a guitar by myself and do a third encore. At that point I knew I had a career."

Earle, who released the duet album Colvin and Earle and toured with longtime friend Shawn Colvin earlier this year, will once again perform Guitar Town in its entirety during a handful of U.S. and Canadian shows this fall. This month, he's set to join Emmylou Harris, Robert Plant, Patty Griffin, Buddy Miller and the Milk Carton Kids for the Lampedusa Concerts for Refugees Tour, October 12th to 21st, raising awareness of the unprecedented worldwide refugee crisis. Funds raised by Lampedusa will support educational programs for refugees around the world. Earle, Harris and Miller offered a sneak preview of the tour last month during an episode of the web series Skyville Live

Earle's other recent recording projects include the 2015 blues LP Terraplane. He's headed into the studio again next month to work on what he says is, "for lack of a better description," a country album.

"I tell people sometimes it's a record I might've made if [then-MCA Nashville label head Jimmy] Bowen hadn't pissed me off after Guitar Town," he explains. "It's really just some songs that got written accidentally."

Here's the Guitar Town: 30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition track listing:

Original Album

1. "Guitar Town"

2. "Goodbye's All We've Got Left"

3. "Hillbilly Highway"

4. "Good Ol' Boy (Gettin' Tough)"

5. "My Old Friend the Blues"

6. "Someday"

7. "Think It Over"

8. "Fearless Heart"

9. "Little Rock 'N' Roller"

10. "Down the Road"

Disc Two: Live at Park West, Chicago, Illinois – August 15, 1986

1. "Guitar Town"

2. "Sweet Little '66"

3. "Goodbye's All We've Got Left"

4. "Hillbilly Highway"

5. "My Old Friend the Blues"

6. "Good Ol' Boy (Gettin' Tough)"

7. "Someday"

8. "Think It Over"

9. "Little Rock 'N' Roller"

10. "State Trooper"

11. "The Week of Living Dangerously"

12. "Angry Young Man"

13. "Nowhere Road"

14. "Fearless Heart"

15. "I Love You Too Much"

16. "San Antonio Girl"

17. "The Devil's Right Hand"

18. "Down the Road"

19. "No. 29"