With a fist in the air and feedback all around, Steve Earle left the stage with nearly two hours of music behind him. “Copperhead Road” was a given, but I was floored by the unexpected and rising confession of addiction, redemption and faith that simmered its way into the introduction of his song “Jerusalem”.

Such were the gifts that Earle gave to the crowd of Vinyl Music Hall. Like a gospel choir, like a bullet, Earle can hit you soft and leave you stumbling or hit you hard and knock you out.

“In case you’re wondering, this is called a bouzouki…unless you’re in an airport.” joked Earle as he introduced the Irish string instrument he had played for a few songs. One syllable off from sounding like the military rocket launcher (the bazooka), Earle has also done his damage, but he’s picking up the pieces of himself/the world and putting it all together, helping us all to heal.

– Michael L. Smith