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Steve Earle - "Hillbilly Highway" [Live From Austin, TX]

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Published on Jul 3, 2008

"Hillbilly Highway" from Steve Earle's 'Live From Austin TX' performance. Buy it today on Amazon http://amzn.to/Heo64q.

This 1986 performance from Austin City Limits (also available on DVD) presents one of country's most powerful artists at his performing peak. The native Texan's series debut finds Earle in the midst of his headstrong breakthrough, drawing from the Guitar Town and Exit 0 albums that put him at the front of the renegade country pack. Within the former album's title track and other performance highlights such as "Good Ol Boy (Gettin' Tough)" and "Nowhere Road," Earle and his band the Dukes combine country twang with rock dynamics. Plainly influenced by Bruce Springsteen, he introduces a taut, riveting cover of "State Trooper" as a song by "a pretty good hillbilly singer from New Jersey," and Earle's own "Fearless Heart" owes a debt of inspiration to Springsteen's "Hungry Heart." Yet the 17-song performance reflects his softer side as well, with the reflective balladry of "My Old Friend the Blues" and the tender lullaby of "Little Rock 'n' Roller" packing as much of an emotional punch as the tougher stuff. Where Austin City Limits typically edits an artist's taping into a half hour for airing, this 65-minute release treats listeners to the full set. --Don McLeese

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