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Steve Earle

The Revolution Starts ... Now – 2004 (Artemis/E-Squared)

Reviewed by T.J. Simon

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CDs by Steve Earle

On Steve Earle's latest, he's created an anti-war screed that also serves as a testament to his superior songwriting ability. The title track serves as an invitation for Americans to get involved over a Springsteen-worthy tune. "Home to Houston" is a classic trucker-country story of a big rig driver scared shitless by the realities of modern warfare when called into duty in Iraq. "Rich Man's War" is a lyrical masterpiece about a poor kid who joins the army only to find himself in the middle of a Kandahar firefight. His tale is contrasted with a Palestinian boy also pressed into unfortunate service by his own people.

Unfortunately, not every song is a winner. The spoken word "Warrior" collapses under its own self-indulgent weight, and the tongue in cheek reggae love lament "Condi, Condi" feels like a novelty track left on the cutting room floor by Jimmy Buffett. Nevertheless, there's a lot to enjoy including the Emmylou Harris duet, "Comin' Around." Folks who like their alt.-country peppered with a healthy dose of pissed-off politics will find something to enjoy on Earle's call to revolution.