Gig Review : Steve Earle, Cork Opera House

Despite being steeped in country Steve Earle is quite possibly the last living and breathing original rock and roll star.

Married more than five times (six at this stage I think), stints in jail, problems with drink and drugs, says whatever the fuck he likes and most importantly, keeps turning out quality albums. His latest release (consisting of only Townes Van Zandt numbers) may not contain any of his own material but his closeness to the country legend, his mentor and friend, leaves the album nothing short of passion, balls and drive.

As ever with the Cork Opera House the show begins quite punctually with Steve strolling out, acoustic in hand, and diving straight into his set. Of course the emphasis is on the new "Townes" album but the song choices are mixed well with Van Zandt songs such as "Colorado Girl", "Pancho and Lefty " and "Brand New Companion" tossed together with originals "My Old Friend The Blues", "Dixieland" and "Goodbye".

Breaks in songs were filled with stories from Townes and Steve's past and, this being my third time seeing the man live, it
is impossible not to be sucked into every word that leaves the guys mouth. There was even time for a shot at a certain alcohol
advert : "In all my years of drinking I will say that a drop of cider never passed my fucking lips".

It says so much of his appreciation of Ireland that the tour took in six dates here yet still he thanked everyone for parting
with their cash in these tough times.

An encore of "Way Down in the Hole" (a Tom Waits track recorded for The Wire season 5 in which Steve plays a small, impressive part himself),
"Guitar Town" and "Copperhead Road" ended the night on a peak.