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All-Reviews.com Music Review
El Corazon

music reviewmusic reviewmusic review  out of 4

All-Reviews.com Music Review: El Corazon

Artist: Steve Earle
Genre: Rock/Pop, Folk, Country
Release Date: October 1997
Note(s): Nominated for a 1999 Grammy for best contemporary folk album


Review by LarryG
3½ stars out of 4

Earle certainly never fit within a classic definition of country music even when he was lumped with other so-called country rebels like Dwight Yoakam in the mid-80's. The best description might be post-Born in the U.S.A. Springsteen with an accent but Earle's willingness to try different things makes him hard to categorize. Earle makes smart, principled music. He knows how to rock and continues to improve. El Corazon shows Earle's skill at working in all kinds of idioms. The record starts with Christmas in Washington, a unadorned folk song where Earle, disgusted by the hypocrisy of both parties, calls out for help from Woody Guthrie and other real activists of the past. Earle doesn't deny his past or his love of classic country music. He does bluegrass with the Del McCoury band, with whom he made 1999's sincere, well made The Mountain cd, on I Still Carry You Around, a touching rememberance of a lost love. You Know The Rest has the fervor and simplicity of an old spiritual and The Other Side of Town is a fascinating evocation of lo-fi Hank Williams style recording. For a guy who's been in prison and seen the world, Earle is still convincing as the country boy dreaming of the big city on Telephone Road and the let it loose rocker, N.Y.C. Poison Lovers is a tuneful, wistful duet of a couple who want to, but can't, make things work. Perhaps the highlight is the beautiful, yearning mid tempo rocker Somewhere Out There but the El Corazon is great throughout.

Here's what others reviewers have to say:

"...Earle's strongest statement to date about what makes his heart beat and blood boil....he straddles a bunch of styles with the nimble ease of a homespun visionary who correctly sees that ultimately it's all one..." 4 Stars (out of 5)  Rolling Stone 12/11/97, p.78

"Eleven years after his prescient debut, this prickly alt-country survivor's insights into institutional callousness...romantic longing...and personal iconoclasm...resonate with hard-won wisdom..."  Rating: A Entertainment Weekly 10/17/97, p.77

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