Country Music Performers - Your #1 Country Resource on the Net

Steve Earle Biography

Steve Earle Biography

 In 1975, Earle moved to Nashville, Tennessee, where he met and worked with fellow Texans Guy Clark and his wife Susanna. Clark was active in Earle being employed as a songwriter by the Sunbury Dunbar publishing division of RCA. Earle did backing vocals on "Desperados Waiting for a Train" (together with Emmylou Harris) on Clark's first album Old No. 1. Despite his early success as a songwriter, it was not until 1981 that Earle achieved a top-ten cut with "When You Fall in Love", which was recorded by Johnny Lee. Earle's early work as a recorded performer was in the rockabilly style, and can be heard on the Early Years album. He had to wait until 1986, though, before his first proper album, Guitar Town, was released. It was a critical success and was eventually certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America. The follow-up albums Exit 0 and the certified-gold Copperhead Road built on this success. Earle had been a drug user since an early age and was addicted to heroin for many years. By the time of his 1990 album The Hard Way, it started to become clear that the drugs were seriously affecting him. In 1993, his drug problems resulted in him effectively stopping performing and recording for two years, a period he refers to as his "vacation in the ghetto". He eventually ended up in jail on drug and firearms charges. Kicking the drug habit while in jail, Earle came out a new man and released two albums within 18 months of his release in late 1994. His comeback album, the acoustic Train A Comin', was nominated for the Best Contemporary Folk Album Grammy Award in 1996.

Earle's "second, post-jail musical career" has been noticeably more musically diverse than his early work. Since setting up his own record label, he has been able to follow his own artistic direction, rather than being constrained by the Nashville country pop-rock sound. This has led to experimentation with a range of styles from country and bluegrass music to folk and hard rock music. He has maintained a strict work ethic. Several albums have been released since, as well as a book of haiku and a collection of short stories called Doghouse Roses. He also wrote and directed a play about the death penalty. Earle also tours often, playing over 200 shows per year. His concerts tend to be either solo acoustic shows or ensemble affairs with one of his two backing bands, the Dukes or the Bluegrass Dukes. Earle is the subject of a documentary film entitled Just an American Boy, directed by Amos Poe, which explores his political views as well as his music. In 2005, he caused consternation among his fans by allowing the song "The Revolution Starts Now" to be used by General Motors in a TV advertisement for pick-up trucks. Earle is also the subject of an acclaimed biography, Steve Earle: Fearless Heart, Outlaw Poet, by the noted New York-based music writer David McGee. 

Top Unsigned Artists


Acoustic / Country / Pop


Americana / Psychedelic / Country

abbott station

Country / Rock / Other

PA Music Publishing

Pop / Rock / Country