"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Write On

We listened to some of Steve Earle’s records last week. Yesterday, I caught a piece in the L.A. Times about Earle’s first novel:

It took eight years, on and off, for Earle to finish “I’ll Never Get Out of This World Alive,” writing between tours and recording sessions, backtracking and revising when necessary, getting back in the groove. “I hope it’s like the Huck Finn effect,” he jokes. “Twain stopped writing in the middle of the book and went on a lecture tour, and the difference between the first and second halves make it the great American novel.”

But more to the point is how the novel ties into the larger pattern of his career. In late April, Earle will release his 14th studio album, also called “I’ll Never Get Out of This World Alive” and equally focused on issues of life and death.

“They were written at the same time,” he declares, “so it shouldn’t surprise anyone that they’re about the same thing” — and if this is the first time he’s tied two projects together so directly, it only highlights what he’s been doing all along. “I’ve always written stories,” he says. “My songs are stories. A lot of people wonder how to write a story in three minutes. With a book, you have to figure out what to prolong and what not to.”

Still, he admits, “Wrestling a novel to the ground was about 100 times harder than I expected. In the middle of it, I swore I’d never do it again. But now that it’s done, I’ve got another idea.”

[Photo Credit: American Songwriter]

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