Singer-songwriter and political activist Steve Earle played to a sellout crowd at the Tarrytown Music Hall last Friday. The full-house is no surprise — the 54-year-old “hardcore troubadour” has a large and loyal following.
Here’s what our man at the scene, Journal News enterprise editor John Alcott, had to say about the show, which he was fortunate enough to catch:
Steve Earle is easily one of the most original American songwriters working today, and his performance Friday at the Tarrytown Music Hall once again proved the point, showcasing more than 20 years of great tunes and lyrics.
Allison Moorer, his wife, and accompanist on guitar and vocals on 2007’s “Washington Square Serenade,” opened the set with several folk and bluegrass numbers. Moorer has a starkly beautiful , often heartbreaking voice and the crowd gave her a well-deserved round of enthusiastic applause.
But it was Steve Earle they were waiting for. And when he took the stage, Earle delivered the goods again and again, pounding out the rhythms and runs of more than a dozen of his best songs on acoustic guitar. Singing in his well-worn and raspy baritone, he gave new life to “Guitar Town,” “Someday,” “Taneytown,” “Copperhead Road,” “Tom Ames’ Prayer” — and one of my personal favorites, “The Devil’s Right Hand.”
Whether you classify him as roots rock, alt-country, folk or twangy Americana (or all the above), his songs have undeniable staying power thanks to his ear for melody, catchy chord changes and smart lyrics.
A couple of times over the course of the evening Earle invoked Woody Guthrie’s name, and it’s clear he has much in common with the great Dust Bowl troubadour — including an extensive repertoire of genuinely heartfelt American songs.