Steve Earle on refugees, the death penalty and song-writing as literature
Of all the outlaws that country music has produced, Steve Earle has always been among the most willing to put himself on the opposite side of popular opinion and the political mood of the US.
In song, in writing and in activism, he's weighed in against the death penalty, against the war in Iraq and the war on terror, against the Confederate flag.
I've been to Belfast when there was gun trucks in the street, and they said that would never change. I don't believe that what's going on in the [Middle East] is hopeless...I'm a recovering heroin addict. I simply can't afford to believe in anything like a lost cause or a hopeless case. - Steve Earle, on gun violence in the United States
And now — he is throwing his support behind refugees. Along with fellow singers Emmylou Harris, Robert Plant, Patty Griffin and Buddy Miller, Steve Earle is part of the Lampedusa: Concerts for Refugees tour sponsored by the Jesuit Refugee Service. The tour coincides with the 30th anniversary reissue of Guitar Town, several months after the release of his most recent album of duets with Shawn Colvin.
I woke up [on Thursday] feeling legitimized because Bob Dylan won the Nobel Prize, and that means that what I do is literature, and I've believed that all along. - Steve Earle
Steve Earle has won three Grammy Awards. He's also acted in films and television series and written a novel, a collection of short stories and a play. In 2010, the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty bestowed upon him its Shining Star of Abolition Award.
Click the button above to hear Michael's feature interview with Steve Earle. Because this segment includes commercially recorded music, we are only able to make it available within Canada for copyright reasons.