An Intimate Evening with Steve Earle & The Dukes

Steve Earle & the Dukes perform at the Brown Co. Music Center in Nashville, IN. - Photo Credit: ©Pix Meyers 2022
Steve Earle & the Dukes perform at the Brown Co. Music Center in Nashville, IN. - Photo Credit: ©Pix Meyers 2022

Nashville, IN. – I’ve been blessed with many opportunities during my lifetime surrounding live performances and music. I have been very fortunate to see many concerts over my years spanning several different genres, styles, performers, and legends. In the bigger scope of life, I feel these experiences have given me a greater appreciation for musicianship and performances – it gave me a love of music. All music. The whole ugly, beautiful, magical, complicated mess of it! Music has taught me, healed me, inspired me, and broke me apart inside. Music is my answer when asked “What is the one thing you can’t live without?”.

Which brings me to Friday June 3, 2022. This was a super exciting day because it was the day I was finally going to see Steve Earle & The Dukes perform at the Brown County Music Center in Nashville, Indiana. It has taken me several weeks to process the experience of the show. It was personal for me. To say it was an emotional experience is an understatement. Steve Earle, for me, was someone who had touched me with his music. He had found a way into my soul with his words somewhere in my twenties while spending the holidays with my momma in south Texas. I could envision the stories he sung about. There are still Steve Earle songs that hold milestones in my life. Some good/Some Bad. At the sound of the first note of certain songs, he takes me to those places in time. He can still move me to tears…

Steve Earle performs at the Brown Co. Music Center in Nashville, IN. - Photo Credit: ©Pix Meyers 2022
Steve Earle performs at the Brown Co. Music Center in Nashville, IN. – Photo Credit: ©Pix Meyers 2022

On this night not only did I get to see Steve and The Dukes perform, I got to photograph them. I’d waited for this night for 30 years. I’m generally not one to get star-struck but this particular night was different. I was honored to be able to capture a performer that I considered a singer-songwriting legend. And on this particular night, Steve was showcasing his new album, Jerry Jeff (via New West Records) –  a tribute album showcasing songs written by Jerry Jeff Walker (a native New Yorker turned Texas singer-songwriting legend and someone Steve not only looked up to but wanted to be!).

The night kicked off with Steve walking out on stage and introducing the opening act, The Whitmore Sisters featuring Bonnie (acoustic guitar, vocals, harmony vocals) & Eleanor Whitmore (fiddle, violin, keyboard, vocals, harmony vocals) along with Chris Masterson (guitar). Currently out in support of their debut album, Ghost Stories (via Red House Records) these two sisters are considered some of roots music’s most accomplished songwriters/instrumentalist/vocalists. The album takes a good look at the “experience of living” – taking you on a journey of places and times gone by; revisiting those “ghosts” of our minds. 

 “Music should move people,” Eleanor affirms. “Or at least cause some kind of reaction. Sometimes it’s comforting, or you can rock out! I’ve always liked Woody Guthrie’s way of looking at it: ‘Music is to comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable.’” 

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The Whitmore Sisters will be out touring with Steve Earle & the Dukes through the end of August before heading overseas with Del Amitri in September. Make sure to give Ghost Stories a listen!! I find it perfect at the end of a long day on headset or Sunday morning over coffee. 

Next up was acclaimed Texas singer-songwriter Steve Earle (vocals, guitar, mandolin, harmonica, banjo, bass, bouzouki) joined on stage with his band The Dukes featuring Chris Masterson (guitar), Eleanor Whitmore (fiddle, violin, vocals), Ricky Ray Jackson (peddle steel), Jeff Hill (bass), and Brad Pemberton (drums). There was no fancy stage set. No fancy light show; Just the band and their instruments and they wasted no time getting into the new album, Jerry Jeff

From the first stroke of his guitar and with that familiar vocal sound, Steve & the Dukes proceeded to take us on a journey through Steve’s extensive catalog of music. Twenty-two studio albums to choose from to be exact; dating back to 1986 (and that’s not including the live albums). Telling stories is what Steve does. He has a unique way of breaking a situation down – whether it be his story or telling someone else’s – he creates the visual of that story and the raw emotion that goes right along with it…And that’s exactly what he did on this Friday evening in Nashville, Indiana.

Engaging the crowd in-between songs and tapping his foot to the music (even clicking his heels as he sang the line in “Mr. Bojangles”), Steve appeared to be in good spirits. He seemed to have a twinkle in his eye and he definitely had that “rock star” stance as he began such fan favorites like “Copperhead Road”. Being my first time seeing Steve & the Dukes AND being a big fan of the music, I couldn’t have asked or wanted a better setlist. Steve played all the tunes I was hoping he’d play (only missing “Satellite Radio”) and, if I’m honest, I may have cried a couple times…but good tears. The show was everything I wanted it to be and so much more. This may sound silly but I was honored to have witnessed this show at a small theatre in a small rural town. It felt intimate. It felt personal and up close. It felt like it should when seeing a singer-songwriting legend.

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Steve Earle & The Dukes will be out touring through August across the U.S. before hitting some festivals in September including Camp Copperhead with Shawn Colvin & Anders Osborne!

Setlist: Brown Co. Music Center

  • Gettin’ By (Jerry Jeff Walker cover)
  • Charlie Dunn (Jerry Jeff Walker cover)
  • Wheel (Jerry Jeff Walker cover)
  • Gypsy Songman (Jerry Jeff Walker cover)
  • I Makes Money (Money Don’t Make Me) (Jerry Jeff Walker cover)
  • Mr. Bojangles (Jerry Jeff Walker cover)
  • Hill Country Rain (Jerry Jeff Walker cover)
  • Someday (Steve Earle song)
  • Guitar Town (Steve Earle song)
  • I Ain’t Ever Satisfied
  • Ben McCullogh (Steve Earle song)
  • Dixieland (Steve Earle & The Del McCoury Band cover)
  • The Galway Girl (Steve Earle song)
  • Mystery Train Pt. II (Steve Earle song)
  • Copperhead Road (Steve Earle song)
  • You’re the Best Lover
  • You’re Still Standin’ There (Steve Earle song)
  • Goodbye (Steve Earle song)
  • Sparkle and Shine (Steve Earle song)
  • Trancendental Blues (Steve Earle song)
  • Week of Living Dangerously
  • Hard Core Troubadour (Steve Earle song)
  • It’s About Blood
  • Looking For A Woman
  • The Firebreak Line
  • So You Wannabe an Outlaw
  • Fixin To Die

Encore: 

  • The Devil’s Right Hand (Steve Earle song)
  • City of Immigrants (Steve Earle song)
  • Casey Jones (Grateful Dead cover)
  • Rag Mama Rag (The Band cover) 

Show Date: 06/03/2022

 

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I am a freelance photographer based in Indianapolis, Indiana specializing in concert and event photography. With my childhood love for music and photography plus the added influence from my mother (a Broadway Company Manager) and later from my husband (a live sound engineer) it seemed only natural to combine my passions and pursue my craft more seriously. I have been blessed with great opportunities to shoot fabulous performers and look forward to sharing my work and new adventures with Digital Beat Magazine. Be sure to look for me in the pit at the next show... They call me "Pixie Dare" Make sure to check out my portfolio at www.picturesbypix.com and be sure to find me on Facebook at Pix Meyers Photography and Instagram @pixmeyersphoto.