Steve Earle & The Dukes – The Hard Way (1990/2016) [Official Digital Download 24bit/96kHz]

Steve Earle & The Dukes – The Hard Way (1990/2016)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 55:53 minutes | 1,19 GB | Genre: Country
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Geffen*

Originally released in 1990, “The Hard Way” is Steve Earle’s fourth studio album with his backing band, The Dukes. The aptly-titled album was recorded in Nashville as Earle was struggling with severe drug addiction and features two songs co-written with Maria McKee. Celebrating the 30th anniversary of Earle’s debut, this album has been remastered from the original tapes.

“I defend The Hard Way to the death, because I almost died in the process of making it,” Steve Earle told a reporter in 2000, and he wasn’t just being melodramatic. Earle’s well-documented addiction to heroin and cocaine was spiraling out of control in 1990 while he was holed up in Memphis recording The Hard Way. And while his 1988 album Copperhead Road showed him moving away from country and more toward hard rock — and earned him a minor crossover hit in the process — his record label was hoping for a major commercial breakthrough so that his sales might begin to match his good press. The resulting album is a bit of a mess, often sloppy and overbearing, where his country sides had been dynamic and precise, and Earle’s voice was starting to show the strain of his lifestyle. Even his songwriting, usually peerless, wasn’t at its best here, with “When the People Find Out,” “Regular Guy,” and “Justice in Ontario” sounding like they were tossed together fast to round out the album (the latter sounds like a transparent stroke to his Canadian fan base, where Copperhead Road went multi-platinum). But even his weakest studio album has plenty to recommend it, the all-too-biographical “Have Mercy” and “West Nashville Boogie,” and “Billy Austin,” a deeply moving ballad about a man on death row. The Hard Way isn’t much of an album by Earle’s standards, but it’s still got enough heart, soul, and fire to prove Earle couldn’t throw away his talent, no matter how hard he tried. – Mark Deming

1-01. Steve Earle & The Dukes – The Other Kind (05:09)
1-02. Steve Earle & The Dukes – Promise You Anything (02:43)
1-03. Steve Earle & The Dukes – Esmeralda’s Hollywood (06:01)
1-04. Steve Earle & The Dukes – Hopeless Romantics (02:44)
1-05. Steve Earle & The Dukes – This Highway’s Mine (Roadmaster) (03:54)
1-06. Steve Earle & The Dukes – Billy Austin (06:16)
1-07. Steve Earle & The Dukes – Justice In Ontario (04:47)
1-08. Steve Earle & The Dukes – Have Mercy (04:40)
1-09. Steve Earle & The Dukes – When The People Find Out (04:11)
1-10. Steve Earle & The Dukes – Country Girl (04:11)
1-11. Steve Earle & The Dukes – Regular Guy (03:17)
1-12. Steve Earle & The Dukes – West Nashville Boogie (03:09)
1-13. Steve Earle & The Dukes – Close Your Eyes (04:45)

Steve Earle – lead vocal, guitars, mandolin, bass, guitar synthesizer

The Dukes:
Bucky Baxter – Mullins pedal steel guitar
Ken Moore – organ, synthesizer, string arrangements
Zip Gibson – electric guitars, vocals
Kelly Looney – bass, vocals
Craig Wright – drums
John Jarvis – piano
Lester Snell – organ on ‘When The People Find Out’
Patrick Earle – percussion
Stacey Earle Mims – harmony on ‘Promise You Anything’
Williams & Brown – background vocals
Susan Jerome-Taylor – background vocals


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