“There are some people who want to believe that politics are off limits in art or are off limits in pop culture,” Steve Earle says. “And I just didn’t grow up in a time when they were. My younger audience all … come directly from the political stuff. I’d be cutting a pretty substantial part of my base off if I stopped writing political songs.”
A paternal heartache (is at) the most emotionally raw moment on The Low Highway, the final track, “Remember Me.” It’s a song for his young son, John Henry, whom Earle feels he may not get the chance to see grow up.
“I started having kids again in my mid-’50s,” he says. “I’m one of four guys that dropped out of high school at the same time of the guys that I hung out with in San Antonio…. We were the smart guys who dropped out of school. We hung out together and kept track of each other and everybody’s gone but me. And I’m not that old, I’m only 58. Heart attack got one of them, cancer two of them. So I’m losing people and you have a child at my age he could grow up and not know who I am. If something happened today, he probably wouldn’t remember who I was. He’s only three. So it’s another song I had to write in self-defense.”
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