Rooster planned the perfect adventure. A Steve Earle and the Dukes concert at the Egyptian Room was just what the doctor ordered to cure our winter blues. #Steve Earle # Indianapolis #Indiana #Guy Clark #Egyptian Room
Steve Earle and the Dukes
The first time I heard a Steve Earle and the Duke’s song was in 1988 when “Copperhead Road” played on my car radio. The bluegrass heavy metal infused sound caught my ear. The lyrics hit a soft spot in my heart. When I was a kid, I knew a lot of guys like John Lee Pettimore. The enlisted in the army because they didn’t have college deferments to keep them out of harm’s way or disagreement with the law with the choice of the military or jail in their future. They were guys from the neighborhood. White trash eighteen-year-old kids from around the way. These young men came home changed. Some of them didn’t come home at all.
“Copperhead Road” struck a nerve in me, but I didn’t pay much attention to Steve Earle again until Rooster and I stumbled onto the HBO series Treme. He played a street musician named Harley. We felt the creators of the series killed him off much too fast. In the show, Earle dies due to a gunshot to the face by a mugger. Thus, Treme killed one of our favorite characters.
Didn’t connect Earl to the Harley character
We didn’t connect the Harley character with “Copperhead Road” until we started looking into other music performed by some of our favorite Treme characters. The series used local musicians in each episode to reflect the New Orleans music scene. We didn’t realize how versatile a music artist Earle was until we attended Irish Fest in 2017 and every group performing at the festival played the song “Galway Girl”. I went home from the event and found the Steve Earle station on Pandora. Therefore, Earle is one of the most versatile songwriters of our time.
On Wednesday, Rooster walked up to the window where I work and told me he had a surprise. He said I needed to see if I could get off early on Friday. He wasn’t going to tell me where we were going until we got there. I’ve already told you Rooster is cheap, but I haven’t divulged the fact he can’t keep a secret. It took exactly one hour for me to pry our secret destination from him.
Rooster hooked us up with our next adventure.
The Steve Earle and the Dukes concert took place at the Egyptian Room in Indianapolis. And so, needless to say, I was excited about this musical adventure. Rooster and I viewed an episode of Treme because we missed the French Quarter Music Festival in New Orleans this year. One of the events on our adventure wishes list is to make a pilgrimage to the Crescent City to attend this event again. We try to make our way to New Orleans and this festival every year, so we felt a little out of sorts. The only solution to our winter blues was to binge-watch all four seasons of Treme.
If you haven’t seen the series, it is about the rebuilding of New Orleans after Katrina. I don’t know why this show didn’t catch on with television audiences. Rooster and I thought it was fantastic.
The Egyptian Room
The Egyptian Room was the perfect venue for a Steve Earle concert. It wasn’t as elaborate as the atmospheric State Theater in Kalamazoo, but it did have some interesting decor. There were Egyptian columns on both sides of the stage, statues perched on the light fixtures, plush carpet under our feet, and intricate stain glass windows in the lobby.
Rooster purchase tickets for a table on the top row of risers on the left side of the stage. A smiling lady escorted to a table where another couple was seated. The complete strangers bought tickets to the same table as Rooster and I did. They were very nice folks. He retired from a university in Northern Indiana where he worked for the IT department. She was employed by the state attorney general’s office. Rooster and I work for a university. We found we had a lot of things in common. They made great table mates for the show.
2019 Steve Earle and the Dukes Tour
The 2019 Steve Earle and the Dukes tour was kicked off in New Orleans at Jazz Fest. The Mastersons came out as the opening act. They are a husband and wife team who are also members of The Dukes. The husband’s role is a guitar player and singer. The wife has an awesome voice and can play fiddle as she came out of the womb holding one in her hand.
When the couple finished their half of the show, they joined Steve Earle and the Dukes on stage and played music with them for the rest of the concert. Steve Earle and The Dukes 2019 tour promotes a tribute album he recorded to honor Guy Clark. Clark became Earle’s mentor after Earle hitchhiked from Texas to Nashville. Steve admits he was a pest when he first arrived in town. He even confessed he left the bass Clark loaned him in his car, and it was stolen.
Who is Guy Clark?
The playlist for the evening concert contained a number of Guy Clark tunes. Plus, a healthy dose of Steve Earle songs thrown in to please the audience. Rooster and I enjoyed the music and the healthy dose of humor provided by Earle’s stories which kept the night interesting. The audience went wild when he started playing “Copperhead Road”. If you’ve never heard the song it can best be described as bluegrass tuned up a notch to include heavy metal.
I didn’t know about Guy Clark before this concert, but I was familiar with his music. I’d heard “Dublin Blues”, “Desperados Waiting for a train”, “LA Freeway, and “Fort Worth Blues” on the radio numerous times without knowing who created these songs. The beauty of the internet and services like Pandora radio has made listening to alternative music easy for people who don’t like the songs record companies put out to be broadcast on traditional stations.
This alternative has opened a new world for many of us. I believe Indy artists are the next big thing on the musical horizon. At the same time, it has made it easy for people to pirate an artist’s work. (There should be a special spot in Hell for people who do illegal downloads. Musicians deserve to get paid for their talent.) I would never have heard the Guy Clark songs unless I bumped into them while listening to Pandora. I was glad Earle gave us an introduction to the man behind the music. The guy is gone but Earle is making sure he isn’t forgotten.
On the ride home, I promised Rooster I would go with him if a group playing Mongolian heavy metal ever came to the Egyptian Room at the Murat. It’s a sound he’s been exploring for the past couple of months. I must admit it has a catchy beat. Steve Earle and the Dukes will be touring until October. If they happen to be near your town, you might want to catch their show. In my opinion, you won’t be disappointed.
Who is Molly Shea?
Molly Shea is an accomplished fictional short story writer from Indiana, who writes short stories and novels about a fictional town called Tecumseh. To read more of her short stories and adventures click here.
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