13 Songs, 39 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Train a Comin’ marks the major turning point in both Steve Earle’s personal and professional lives. Not only had he decided to turn his back on the Nashville establishment he had worked so long to break into, he had also ended a lifelong drug addiction following a three-year jail sentence that ended just before Train a Comin’ was recorded. “Mercenary Song,” “Tom Ames’ Prayer,” and “Ben McCulloch” are three standouts that date back to the ‘70s, when Earle would hone songs with his peers as they gathered at Guy Clark’s house. “Nothin’ Without You” is Earle’s sweetest song, but it is “Goodbye”— with its devastatingly frank acknowledgement of Earle’s drug addiction — that shows us just how painful a love song can be. The Beatles’ “I’m Looking Through You” is one of the first songs Earle learned to play on guitar, while “Rivers of Babylon” is a prayer of restoration and humility for the newly sober artist. The album concludes with “Tecumseh Valley,” written by Earle’s mentor Townes Van Zandt and performed with a consideration and candidness that that respects both the author and the song.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Train a Comin’ marks the major turning point in both Steve Earle’s personal and professional lives. Not only had he decided to turn his back on the Nashville establishment he had worked so long to break into, he had also ended a lifelong drug addiction following a three-year jail sentence that ended just before Train a Comin’ was recorded. “Mercenary Song,” “Tom Ames’ Prayer,” and “Ben McCulloch” are three standouts that date back to the ‘70s, when Earle would hone songs with his peers as they gathered at Guy Clark’s house. “Nothin’ Without You” is Earle’s sweetest song, but it is “Goodbye”— with its devastatingly frank acknowledgement of Earle’s drug addiction — that shows us just how painful a love song can be. The Beatles’ “I’m Looking Through You” is one of the first songs Earle learned to play on guitar, while “Rivers of Babylon” is a prayer of restoration and humility for the newly sober artist. The album concludes with “Tecumseh Valley,” written by Earle’s mentor Townes Van Zandt and performed with a consideration and candidness that that respects both the author and the song.

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