Steve Earle sums up the anxiety of the Trump era with his new song “Times Like These,” presented as a solo acoustic performance.
Earle penned the song at the beginning of Donald Trump’s presidency, and he addresses the uncertainty of the moment and the whiplash of that change. “Times like these, when it looks as dark as it can get, I just wanna give it up and quit, I remember when,” Earle sings, recalling times of protest and unity that led to actual progress in this country. It’s a reminder that there may yet be hope for us, despite the grim state of the present.
A full-band rendition of the song with the Dukes was cut at Electric Ladyland Studios while Earle was working on his newly released Ghosts of West Virginia, but won’t be available until August 29th when it arrives as a limited-edition 7-inch as Record Store Day’s first “RSD Drop.”
Ghosts of West Virginia grew out of Earle’s work on the play Coal Country, which ran for two weeks in March before being canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The album picks up the narrative of the Upper Big Branch coal mine explosion in 2010, in which 29 miners died.