Archive for Allison Moorer

Live: Steve Earle w/the Dukes & Duchesses, Houston

Posted in Review with tags , , , on July 7, 2011 by 30daysout

Steve Earle and band onstage at Houston's House of Blues.

With a career spanning close to four decades, Texas singer/songwriter Steve Earle has grown into quite the renaissance man. Not only is he a musician and performer of the highest caliber, he can also claim to also be an accomplished author, playwright, actor and political commentator.

Even though Earle’s appearance at Houston’s House of Blues Wednesday night (7/6) was as a musician and bandleader, evidence of his other interests couldn’t help but creep in.

He was backed by a fine band called the Dukes and Duchesses which includes Earle’s wife Allison Moorer, guitarist Chris Masterson, violinist Eleanor Whitmore (Masterson’s wife), bassist Kelly Looney and drummer Will Rigby.

They opened with a series of songs from Earle’s new album I’ll Never Get Out Of This World Alive, including the mandolin-driven “Molly-O” and hatin’-on-Bush screed “Little Emperor.” Earle’s “The Gulf Of Mexico,” about last summer’s Gulf oil spill, concluded with Earle declaring “Fuck BP!”

The first half of the show focused mainly on acoustic-based songs and it concluded with a three-song set from Moorer, who did her Academy Award-nominated “A Soft Place To Fall” (from the movie Horse Whisperer) and a soulful version of Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come.”

Roaring into the second half with “Copperhead Road” and the Irish jig “Galway Girl,” Earle displayed his deep catalog. He also talked a bit about his new novel, which has the same name as his new CD, and performed the Hank Williams song that gave both their titles. He also did a great version of “This City,” which closed out the first season of HBO’s series Treme, in which Earle did some acting.

It was at this point, nearly two hours into the show, when crowd chatter got so loud that it drowned out the between-song talking from the stage and a bit of the music. I’ve seen this before in Houston and I continue to be mystified by the number of assholes who pay a cover charge ($20 and up) just so they can go into a venue and talk while musicians perform live music.

Steve Earle (Photo by Ted Barron/New West Records)

Is this just a Houston phenomenon? Probably not – I’ve experienced it recently in Austin, where you wouldn’t expect this to happen. It just seems that otherwise reasonable adults go to these venues only to be “seen” and not to listen to music.

Anyhow, Steve Earle gave plenty of nods to the time he spent in Houston paying his dues – he did a fine cover of his mentor Townes Van Zandt’s “Pancho and Lefty” as well as a rousing version of “Telephone Road” after telling how he came to see ZZ Top headline a show (with the likes of Willie Nelson, Fleetwood Mac and the Doobie Brothers as openers) in H-town’s Jeppesen Stadium.

Then, for the second encore, Earle plugged in and the band roared through a version of ZZ Top’s “Francene” and followed that with Earle’s own “Home To Houston,” a Creedence soundalike.

In all, Earle and the Dukes and Duchesses played a little longer than two and a half hours and left the audience (at least those who came for the music) still wanting more. After this show, I’m convinced that Steve Earle is the best roots rocker on the road right now – go see him play this summer, if you can.

Steve Earle official website (with tour dates)

“Austin Music Minute” on KUT-FM, Austin

Article: “Is Steve Earle America’s greatest living songwriter?”

Steve Earle instores at Cactus Music & Record Ranch reviewed here and here

YouTube: “Every Part Of Me” from House of Blues show (thanks to

“Telephone Road”

“Francene”/”Home To Houston”/”The Unrepentant”

Review: For the Ladies

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , on February 9, 2010 by 30daysout

Get over it, football’s over and there’s no baseball for a while.  Do you really follow basketball?  Didn’t think so.  Prepare yourselves – Valentine’s Day is Sunday, and you already know this entire weekend is going to belong to the ladies.  And so will this batch of reviews.  Think of it as a favor: if you’re stuck for a little Valentine’s gift, you can always pick up one of these new CDs.

Between her highly successful eponymous 2006 debut album and its followup The Sea, Corinne Bailey Rae experienced the loss of her husband, who died of an overdose in 2008.   “Are You Here,” the first song on The Sea, comes face to face with her grief and then the singer begins to move on with the surprisingly rocking “The Blackest Lily” (featuring the Roots’ ?uestlove on drums).   Although there’s a melancholy thread winding through the songs, The Sea sounds like Corinne Bailey Rae is ready to take her music to a new level.

MP3: “The Blackest Lily’ by Corinne Bailey Rae

Sade also took a break between albums – in her case, it was about 10 years.  Soldier Of Love is less a comeback than a continuation, as the Nigerian-born singer picks up right where she left off.  Listening to Sade conjures a lazy afternoon on a sunny tropical beach, and the singer spins her slow-burning sensuality on standout tunes like “The Moon and the Sky” and “Morning Bird.”  Her songs often convey a feeling of longing and a hint of mystery, all wrapped in arrangements smoother than silk lingerie.

MP3: “Morning Bird” by Sade

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30 Days Out Interview: Steve Christensen, “Townes” engineer

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 13, 2009 by 30daysout


Last week my band, Orange Is In, was recording drums for our latest project at Rogers Recording in Houston when I stumbled upon some cool information about our engineer Steve Christensen. Steve has worked with Destiny’s Child, Jermaine Dupri, Ray Wylie Hubbard and countless others who have passed through Houston’s legendary Sugar Hill Studios. He also worked on our first two records and is not only a great engineer, but also a great guy.

During a break, we decided to go to Antone’s Famous Po’ Boys to pick up a sandwich. If you’re ever in Houston, I suggest you get the “Original.” It’s filledtownes300 with salami, ham and lots of relish, but I digress. Anyway, we’re talking and Steve proceeds to tell me that he worked on Steve Earle’s latest and greatest disc, Townes. Pleasantly surprised, I asked him if he would answer a few questions about his whirlwind trip to the Big Apple and the making of, in my opinion, the best album of the year.

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Review: “Townes,” Steve Earle

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on July 8, 2009 by 30daysout


Ever since he broke onto the scene in mid-1980s with Guitar Town and his brand rockin’ country, Steve Earle has always been misunderstood by Nashville, but not by me. To me, he’s always been great.  On his latest CD, Townes, he honors the man he calls the “best songwriter to ever walk the earth,” Townes Van Zandt, with a performance that is as good as it gets.

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Live: Steve Earle and Allison Moorer, Houston

Posted in Review with tags , on April 25, 2008 by 30daysout

“I grew up around here,” said Steve Earle, as he began a mellow in-store performance April 24 at Houston’s Cactus Music.  He launched into a long story about hangin’ with Texas songwriting legend Townes Van Zandt, then picked through on Van Zandt’s “Blue Highway,” which in turn segued into Earle’s own “Fort Worth Blues.” 

Earle then beckoned a honey-haired lady to the stage, and Allison Moorer suddenly stole the show.  She lent ethereal harmony to  Steve’s “City Of Immigrants” off his latest Washington Square Serenade, then took a few solo spots.  She killed on Jessi Colter’s “I’m Looking For Blue Eyes,” which closes Mockingbird, her excellent new album of (mostly) cover songs.

“Grandpa” Steve then came back onstage, but it was too late — his wife won all of our hearts.  If you missed ’em at Cactus, catch them Friday night (April 25) at the Verizon Wireless Theater in Houston, or down the road through July.

MP3: Days Aren’t Long Enough by Steve Earle w/Allison Moorer

Steve Earle official website

Allison Moorer official website