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Steve Earle & The Dukes|Ghosts of West Virginia

Ghosts of West Virginia

Steve Earle & The Dukes

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As Steve Earle has built a rising profile in the theater and acting worlds, his original music output has run thin. After 2000's Transcendental Blues, he's recorded a talky political manifesto, The Revolution Starts Now; Washington Square Serenade, a presumptuous bid to be part of NYC folk history; separate albums covering both Guy Clark and Townes Van Zandt and the inevitable blues album with a Robert Johnson-referencing title.

Now comes Ghosts of West Virginia, which draws on Earle's love for American history and his support of the labor movement. Composed for the documentary play Coal Country (about the 2010 explosion that killed 29 miners), these short, bluegrass-influenced songs are pleasant if unmemorable, constrained by being a soundtrack to a pre-existing story. Dedicated to Kelly Looney, the longtime bassist for the Dukes, Ghosts was recorded at Electric Lady Studios in NYC by longtime Earle engineer Ray Kennedy. It benefits from the presence of a pair longtime collaborators—guitarist Chris Masterson and vocalist/fiddle player Eleanor Whitmore (heard on the love song, "If I Could See Your Face"). The big change is Earle's voice, now gruff and haggard, lacking much of its former expressiveness. It makes a song like "The Mine" a tough listen, though it adds the right atmosphere to "Black Lung"—and his gift of twangin’ rock and roll thankfully reappears on "Fastest Man Alive." Meant as a visual accompaniment, Ghosts is a placeholder for Earle completists and dedicated fans. © Robert Baird/Qobuz

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Ghosts of West Virginia

Steve Earle & The Dukes

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1
Heaven Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere
00:01:39

Steve Earle, Composer - Steve Earle & The Dukes, MainArtist - Exile on Jones Street Music (ASCAP) and WC Music Corp. (ASCAP), MusicPublisher

2020 New West Records 2020 Exile on Jones Street Music (ASCAP) and WC Music Corp. (ASCAP)

2
Union, God and Country
00:02:23

Steve Earle, Composer - Steve Earle & The Dukes, MainArtist - Exile on Jones Street Music (ASCAP) and WC Music Corp. (ASCAP), MusicPublisher

2020 New West Records 2020 Exile on Jones Street Music (ASCAP) and WC Music Corp. (ASCAP)

3
Devil Put the Coal in the Ground
00:02:53

Steve Earle, Composer - Steve Earle & The Dukes, MainArtist - Exile on Jones Street Music (ASCAP) and WC Music Corp. (ASCAP), MusicPublisher

2020 New West Records 2020 Exile on Jones Street Music (ASCAP) and WC Music Corp. (ASCAP)

4
John Henry was a Steel Drivin’ Man
00:03:28

Steve Earle, Composer - Steve Earle & The Dukes, MainArtist - Exile on Jones Street Music (ASCAP) and WC Music Corp. (ASCAP), MusicPublisher

2020 New West Records 2020 Exile on Jones Street Music (ASCAP) and WC Music Corp. (ASCAP)

5
Time is Never on Our Side
00:02:55

Steve Earle, Composer - Steve Earle & The Dukes, MainArtist - Exile on Jones Street Music (ASCAP) and WC Music Corp. (ASCAP), MusicPublisher

2020 New West Records 2020 Exile on Jones Street Music (ASCAP) and WC Music Corp. (ASCAP)

6
It's About Blood
00:04:32

Steve Earle, Composer - Steve Earle & The Dukes, MainArtist - Exile on Jones Street Music (ASCAP) / WC Music Corp. (ASCAP), MusicPublisher

2020 New West Records 2020 Exile on Jones Street Music (ASCAP) / WC Music Corp. (ASCAP)

7
If I Could See Your Face Again
00:02:57

Steve Earle, Composer - Steve Earle & The Dukes, MainArtist - Exile on Jones Street Music (ASCAP) and WC Music Corp. (ASCAP), MusicPublisher

2020 New West Records 2020 Exile on Jones Street Music (ASCAP) and WC Music Corp. (ASCAP)

8
Black Lung
00:03:19

Steve Earle, Composer - Steve Earle & The Dukes, MainArtist - Exile on Jones Street Music (ASCAP) and WC Music Corp. (ASCAP), MusicPublisher

2020 New West Records 2020 Exile on Jones Street Music (ASCAP) and WC Music Corp. (ASCAP)

9
Fastest Man Alive
00:02:51

Steve Earle, Composer - Steve Earle & The Dukes, MainArtist - Exile on Jones Street Music (ASCAP) and WC Music Corp. (ASCAP), MusicPublisher

2020 New West Records 2020 Exile on Jones Street Music (ASCAP) and WC Music Corp. (ASCAP)

10
The Mine
00:02:48

Steve Earle, Composer - Steve Earle & The Dukes, MainArtist - Exile on Jones Street Music (ASCAP) and WC Music Corp. (ASCAP), MusicPublisher

2020 New West Records 2020 Exile on Jones Street Music (ASCAP) and WC Music Corp. (ASCAP)

Album Description

As Steve Earle has built a rising profile in the theater and acting worlds, his original music output has run thin. After 2000's Transcendental Blues, he's recorded a talky political manifesto, The Revolution Starts Now; Washington Square Serenade, a presumptuous bid to be part of NYC folk history; separate albums covering both Guy Clark and Townes Van Zandt and the inevitable blues album with a Robert Johnson-referencing title.

Now comes Ghosts of West Virginia, which draws on Earle's love for American history and his support of the labor movement. Composed for the documentary play Coal Country (about the 2010 explosion that killed 29 miners), these short, bluegrass-influenced songs are pleasant if unmemorable, constrained by being a soundtrack to a pre-existing story. Dedicated to Kelly Looney, the longtime bassist for the Dukes, Ghosts was recorded at Electric Lady Studios in NYC by longtime Earle engineer Ray Kennedy. It benefits from the presence of a pair longtime collaborators—guitarist Chris Masterson and vocalist/fiddle player Eleanor Whitmore (heard on the love song, "If I Could See Your Face"). The big change is Earle's voice, now gruff and haggard, lacking much of its former expressiveness. It makes a song like "The Mine" a tough listen, though it adds the right atmosphere to "Black Lung"—and his gift of twangin’ rock and roll thankfully reappears on "Fastest Man Alive." Meant as a visual accompaniment, Ghosts is a placeholder for Earle completists and dedicated fans. © Robert Baird/Qobuz

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