Steve Earle

Washington Square Serenade | NewWest
By JEFF TAMARKIN  |  October 15, 2007
3.0 3.0 Stars
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This is Steve Earle’s big hug to his new home town, New York City, and his new wife (his seventh), country singer Allison Moorer, who repays the favor with frequent harmony vocals. There’s an urban-informed edge to much of the disc — Earle and producer John King, of the Dust Brothers, built the tracks atop beats, hip-hop style — but it’s also his least electric album in some years. In the opening “Tennessee Blues,” Earle bids goodbye to Nashville, and he quickly follows up with “Down Here Below,” singing the praises of a locally renowned Central Park hawk who’s “got him a penthouse view from the tip-top of the food chain.” The American political malaise is still very much on his mind, however. In “Steve’s Hammer,” a rousing folk-rocker dedicated to Pete Seeger, he promises that he won’t stop speaking out till “the air don’t choke and the ocean’s clean and the kids don’t die for gasoline.” And “City of Immigrants,” which features the Brazilian band Forro in the Dark, celebrates diversity with an appropriately Latin-esque sway.
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