Veteran roots musician Steve Earle is set to release his new album The Low Highway on April 16 via New West Records.
The 12-track set is the follow up to 2011's Grammy Award-nominated album I'll Never Get Out Of This World Alive.
It features his live band: Chris Masterson, Eleanor Whitmore, Kelley Looney, Will Rigby and Allison Moorer and was co-produced by Earle and Ray Kennedy (whose production partnership, known as the "Twangtrust," was behind Lucinda Williams' Car Wheels on a Gravel Road).
The Low Highway is Earle's 15th studio album since the release of his acclaimed 1986 debut Guitar Town. It will be available as a single compact disc, deluxe CD/DVD set, digitally, as well as 180 gram vinyl.
Earle states in the album liner notes, "I've been on every interstate highway in the lower forty-eight states by now and I never get tired of the view. I've seen a pretty good chunk of the world and my well-worn passport is one of my most prized possessions, but for me, there's still nothing like the first night of a North American tour; everybody, band and crew, crowded up in the front lounge, eating Nashville hot chicken and Betty Herbert's homemade pimento cheese, swapping the same tired old war stories half shouted over the rattle and hum of the highway. And I'm always the last one to holler good night to Charlie Quick, the driver, and climb in my bunk because to me it feels like Christmas Eve long ago when I still believed in Santa Claus. God I love this."
The Low Highway features "Love's Gonna Blow My Way" and "After Mardi Gras," two songs Earle co-wrote with Lucia Micarelli, his co-star in HBO series Treme. Earle played recurring character Harley, a street musician who mentored Micarelli's character Annie during the first two seasons.
The songs were written specifically for the series and an additional song written by Earle for Treme, "That All You Got?" was performed by Micarelli's character with the Red Stick Ramblers during the third season premiere. All three songs are included on the new album and appear in recorded form for the first time here. Earle's previous composition written for the series, "This City," garnered both Grammy and Emmy Award nominations in 2010.
On Feb. 19, Earle will release via his own E-Squared Records label, a limited edition 7 inch of the album tracks "Burnin' It Down" and "That All You Got?" in support of Independent Music Stores. The record is available on red vinyl and is a limited edition pressing of 1,000. Each cover has been hand-signed by Steve Earle and is hand-numbered.
In addition to the release of The Low Highway, Steve Earle also signed a two-book deal with Twelve, an imprint of Grand Central Publishing/Hachette Book Group last year.
The first will be a memoir and the second a novel. Earle's memoir will be a literary work in three acts. The first section will focus on meeting Townes Van Zandt and the complicated friendship and music mentorship that ensued, taking place in Texas and Tennessee. The second section will center on bottoming out in Nashville, culminating in a prison sentence, during which Steve got clean.
The heart of the third and final section will be recovery, starting around the recording of the album Train A Comin'. The novel is a work of historical fiction and will tell the story of a runaway slave who survived the battle of the Alamo. Earle previously released a collection of short stories, Doghouse Roses (2002, HarperCollins) and his critically acclaimed debut novel, I'll Never Get Out Of This World Alive (2011, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt).
Of the novel, Patti Smith stated "Steve Earle brings to his prose the same authenticity, poetic spirit and cinematic energy he projects in his music. I'll Never Get Out Of This World Alive is like a dream you can't shake, offering beauty and remorse, redemption in spades."
The Low Highway
Burnin' It Down
That All You Got?
Love's Gonna Blow My Way
After Mardi Gras
Pocket Full Of Rain
Warren Hellman's Banjo
Down The Road Pt. II
21st Century Blues