Album Remarks & Appraisals:
With more than 20 years as a recording artist, Steve Earle is one of America's most acclaimed & respected singer/songwriters. All four of his ESquared/Artemis studio albums have been Grammy nominees, with his production of Lucinda Williams' Car Wheels nabbing best Contemporary Folk Album. Now Earle returns with his most topical record to date. Much of The Revolution Starts Now is written like a newspaper, with impassioned political protest songs like the title track, "F the CC", & "Condi, Condi" (written for our National Security Advisor).
Rolling Stone (p.142) - 4 stars out of 5 - "[The album] shows how rousing, angry songs can spring from the one-take heat of a recording session."
Spin (p.115) - "His characters feel like individuals....A writer whose gift is voicing others' perspectives..." - Grade: A-
Uncut (p.102) - 4 stars out of 5 - "[T]he heart beats loud and strong and, mostly, Earle's music matches his intent."
Uncut (p.75) - Ranked #29 in Uncut's "Best New Albums of 2004" - "[I]t's a defiant, agit-rock blitz of angry, clattering riffs."
Dirty Linen (p.46) - "Earle makes no effort to hide his political leanings and he uses his guitar as a battering ram."
Mojo (Publisher) (p.116) - 4 stars out of 5 - "[I]t's a fine album, mixing lean rock anthems with the kinds of ballads lesser artists would need years to write."
Personnel: Steve Earle (vocals, guitar, mandola, harmonica, harmonium, organ); Steve Earle; Kelly Looney (vocals, bass guitar); Dr. Edward O. Henry, David Angell (violin); Chris Carmichael (viola); David Henry (cello); Eric Ambel (vocals, guitar); Will Rigby (vocals, drums, percussion); Emmylou Harris (vocals); Patrick Earle (percussion).
Audio Mixer: Ray Kennedy.
Recording information: Room & Board, Hermitage, TN.
Illustrator: Brad Talbott.
Photographer: Glen Rose.
Arranger: Chris Carmichael.
Steve Earle is widely known as a tireless political activist who's not afraid to use his music to further the causes for which he fights. In 2004, America was in dire need of forward-looking activism, and Earle responded with THE REVOLUTION STARTS NOW. The album was written and recorded quickly in order for Earle to get his two cents in before the Presidential election, and it turned out to be both his most overtly political and most effectively concise offering to date.
With a mix of country and straightforward rock & roll, Earle engages in rabble-rousing (the title track), tells the tales of people victimized by the war in Iraq ("Home to Houston," "Rich Man's War"), and lambasts stifling conservative forces on the homefront ("F the CC"). There are a couple of love songs thrown in for good measure, and they're all the more affecting for their marked contrast. THE REVOLUTION STARTS NOW seamlessly blends the personal and the political without a trace of mawkishness or didacticism.
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