Outsiders Radio: Episode #39
AIR DATE: MAY 2018
Hey everybody, it’s Eric Church back for the thirty-ninth episode of “Outsiders Radio.” Last month I played a couple of make-up shows in Texas, and to make them even more special, we had the legendary Steve Earle & The Dukes open for us. Steve was one of those guys who put the cool back in country in the late 80s. To give you an idea what I mean, here’s one of Steve’s biggest hits.
Some great lyrics in that song, and Steve Earle wrote every word himself about his life on the road. “I got a two pack habit and a motel tan. When my boots hit the boards I’m a brand new man. With my back to the riser, I make my stand.” That right there describes life on the road. He joined us for two shows in Texas last month, and you can imagine how it felt for him to sing the words “I’m just out of Austin, bound for San Antone, with the radio blastin’ and the bird dog on.”
Steve Earle left his home in Texas for Nashville at the age of 19. Once he got there, he wrote songs and played music with Guy Clark. The songs he wrote were about his life in this new place. There are a lot of stories you hear around Tennessee, about making moonshine in the woods, and how that moonshine became a big industry. Selling moonshine was illegal, and those who made it were constantly being chased by federal marshals. Those stories became the framework for another Steve Earle song…one he always performs since it was a hit exactly 30 years ago.
In case you’re wondering, Copperhead Road is an actual street in Johnson County Tennessee. People have been stealing the street signs there for so long that it’s now called Copperhead Hollow Road. That’s an indication of what happens when you write a song that touches a lot of people.
Steve Earle recently released a new album that captures a lot of his Texas heritage. It’s called “So You Wanna Be An Outlaw,” and he says he wanted to channel Waylon as much as he could on the album. To help him, he wrote a song with Miranda Lambert called “This is How It Ends.”
Two Texas legends together on one song: Steve Earle & Miranda Lambert on a song they co-wrote: This Is How It Ends. As we said, Steve Earle joined me for a couple of shows last month in Texas. This summer, he will be part of something called the L-S-D Tour. Now that sounds a little ominous, but it’s not. Those are just the initials of the first names of the three artists on the tour. Obviously the “S” is for Steve Earle. The “L” is for Lucinda Williams, and the “D” is the great Dwight Yoakam. Lucinda, Steve, and Dwight…L-S-D…and they’ll be on the road together all summer. We’ve now had a chance to do shows with all three, so we’re gonna spotlight them and that tour in this episode of Outsiders Radio.
Lucinda was born & raised in Louisiana. She started writing and playing music as a child, and became a traveling musician at age 17. In her 20s, she played around Austin and Houston. Then in her 30s she moved to LA where she started singing with a local rock band. It was there exactly 30 years ago that she recorded her debut album, titled Lucinda Williams, featuring a song that was to win her a Grammy.
That was the song that won Lucinda Williams her first Grammy Award. The version most people know was recorded by Mary Chapin Carpenter in 1992, which also won a Grammy for Carpenter. Not a bad way to begin. Around that same time, Lucinda recorded a duet with Steve Earle, the other artist on this summer’s L-S-D Tour. Steve also played a part in her fifth album: Car Wheels On a Gravel Road. That album was released in 1998, exactly 20 years ago, and won a Grammy for Best Contemporary Folk Album.
That’s the title song from Lucinda Williams’ Grammy winning album “Car Wheels On a Gravel Road.” She always does several songs from that album in her shows, and I’m sure she’ll do a few on this summer’s L-S-D Tour.
Around the same time Lucinda recorded Car Wheels, she did a duet with Ray Wylie Hubbard for his Dangerous Spirits album. They reunited last year for a song called “Tell The Devil I’m Getting There As Fast As I Can,” and we had the good fortune to be a part of that song.
Those are three wild & crazy people…or maybe just two. That’s our connection to the great Lucinda Williams, who was part of that song with my buddy Ray Wylie Hubbard. We’re spotlighting this summer’s L-S-D Tour, featuring Lucinda Williams, Steve Earle, and Dwight Yoakam on this edition of Outsiders Radio.
Our connection to Dwight is pretty obvious. Four years ago, he joined us for The Outsiders World Tour. It was fun having him on that tour, and great that he was able to bring his music to a whole new generation of fans.
What a way to launch a career. The first two singles by Dwight Yoakam got him noticed. His debut album was recorded in Los Angeles, not Nashville, and Dwight wanted to embrace the western sound in country music. He made no secret of his admiration of Buck Owens. At the time, Buck was taking a break from music, and had even left the TV show Hee Haw. Dwight sought out Buck, showed up at his Bakersfield office one day, where they talked about music. After that meeting, they talked about doing a song together…a remake of a song Buck recorded in the 70s…and their 1988 duet would become Dwight’s first #1.
The success of that song led to a revival of Buck Owens’ career. A new generation discovered Buck’s hits from the 60s, and Dwight continues to talk about Buck’s influence today. In that same way, a lot of today’s country stars are talking about Dwight’s influence on their career. A few weeks ago, Dwight played the Stagecoach festival in California. Also on that show was my buddy Keith Urban. Keith found out Dwight was there.
KEITH URBAN: I’m like, no he’s not. And they go, ‘Yeah on a different stage.’ So I went, ‘Well if he is, we’ve got to get him up there.’ I get ahold of his number from a friend of mine, text him out of the blue, ‘Hey it’s Keith Urban,’ like he doesn’t know who I am, ‘Would you sit in with us,’ and he goes, ‘I’d be honored, that’d be great.”
My buddies Brothers Osborne were ALSO on the show that day, so all of them got on stage and did THIS hit by Dwight Yoakam.
So Dwight Yoakam toured with us in 2014. During that tour, we talked about doing a song together. Dwight even had the song. He suggested the Rolling Stones hit “The Last Time,” but unfortunately we never got around to doing it. Dwight recorded the song himself 20 years ago on his album Under The Covers.
That’s Dwight Yoakam’s version of the Rolling Stones hit The Last Time. A reminder that Dwight is part of this summer’s L-S-D Tour, with Lucinda Williams and Steve Earle. We played just a few of their songs this week on Outsiders Radio.
While you’re planning your summer tour schedule, we’re out doing some great festivals this year. We’ll be up in Canada, down in Florida and Alabama, out in California, and everywhere in between. We’re playing Cheyenne Frontier Days at the end of July, the Sturgis Buffalo Chip in August, and a lot more between now and September. Come out and see us! See you next time on Outsiders Radio.
Eric Church hosts Outsiders Radio monthly on SiriusXM's The Highway. Eric explores his personal music influences and plays his current favorites. Church will also play exclusive, never before heard music from his own archives.
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