If Steve Earle weren't a living, breathing person he'd be a character in a blues song, a raucous ballad that would tell the tale of a gifted rebel who drank too much, lost his career and almost all of his women in a blizzard of heroin and crack-cocaine addiction, and lived wildly and extravagantly on the wrong side of the law.
Along the way, Earle has welded rock to country, the Beatles to Springsteen, Celtic to Americana, punk to bluegrass and has produced multiple Grammy-nominated albums and one enduring classic: Guitar Town. Like Hank Williams and Robert Johnson he has wandered across the American South; like Janis Joplin he has a huge capacity for self-destruction that matches an appetite for life in all its extremes. Like Stephen Foster, he is a storyteller and songwriter of rare skill and force whose sincerity echoes through all his work.
A heroin addict since the age of fourteen, six times married to five different women, a man who took a four-year 'vacation in the ghetto', Steve Earle none the less survived. And he came back with an artistic and personal vision intact, determined to change society for the better even as he seemed set to live his life for the worse.
Lauren St John has been allowed unrestricted access and cooperation by Steve, his family and friends. In exchange, she has written a hauntingly clear-eyed, unvarnished and uncompromising life of one of American music's talismanic sons.
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Lauren St. John is the author of Walkin’ After Midnight: A Journey To The Heart Of Nashville,a biography about Steve Earle, and four other biographies. She writes regularly for The Sunday Times and The Independent. She lives in London, England.Review:
“St. John does a fantastic job...Earle’s story is a reminder that not all addict musicians burn out and die.” (Charlotte Observer)
“A sympathetic look at Earle..that doesn’t cover up any blemishes...an on-the-mark biography.” (San Antonio Express-News)
“A no-holds barred portrait of a controversial artist who came back from the brink.” (Entertainment Weekly)
“A dark and compelling tale.” (Chicago Tribune)
“Steve Earle deserves any attention he gets.” (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
“Harrowing and inspirational.” (Maxim)
“Hardcore Troubadour offers intimate and accurate behind-the-scenes of the songwriter’s trials and tribulations....a fascinating new biography.” (Toronto Star)
“Brilliant...St. John manages to demythologize a man whose life often threatens to overshadow his music.” (Publishers Weekly)
“St John tells Earle’s story in grisly detail, thereby baring “the stuff that legends are made of.” (Booklist)
“A wonderfully spirited and sympathetic new biography...Earle is a worthy successor to the all–time greats of American music.” (Howard Frank Mosher)
“An intimate and intelligent biography of an artist who—like all the greats—ain’t ever satisfied.” (Eric Alterman)
“Meticulously researched and well–written...captures the heart and soul of one of America’s most talented, troubled, and controversial songwriters.” (Charles R. Cross, author of Heavier tha Heaven: A Biography of Kurt Cobain)
“If you love Steve Earle, you’ll buy this book. If not, get it anyway. It’s one helluva story.” (Uncut (UK))
“Shockingly honest.” (Q Magazine)
“A fascinating book...utterly compelling...heartfelt...insightful...and much recommended.” (Time Out London)
“A sensitive and amusing book...the Earle material is particularly entertaining, confessional and full of wicked one-liners.” (Sydney Morning Herald)
“Fascinating reading...a riveting portrait.” (St Louis Playback)
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