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Steve Earle


Steve Earle circa 1980
David Corio/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
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A hardcore country traditionalist, Steve Earle has spent his career bucking the Nashville establishment and upholding the left-wing values of the old Greenwich Village folk scene. Praising his favorite songwriter, Townes Van Zandt, he called him "the best songwriter in the whole world, and I'll stand on Bob Dylan's coffee table in my cowboy boots and say that." After 9/11 Earle became a polarizing figure over his song "John Walker's Blues," which sought to humanize John Walker Lindh, the American who fought for the Taliban in Afghanistan. Earle's songs have expressed his support for anti-war protesters, the Occupy Wall Street movement and his opposition to the death penalty (see "Ellis Unit One" for the Dead Man Walking soundtrack). "I'm my daddy's worst fears realized," Earle sang in 1990, when he was struggling with a major drug addiction, on the song "The Other Kind." "There are those that break and bend/I'm the other kind."


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