By Chris Heard
BBC News Online entertainment staff
US folk-rock artist Steve Earle, whose song about so-called American Taliban John Walker Lindh provoked major controversy in the US, is set to release album which criticises the Iraq war.
The Revolution Starts...Now is being released this month in an effort to convey what Earle calls a "revolutionary" message to voters before November's presidential elections.
Earle has been accused of being unpatriotic
As well as anti-war songs it includes a four-letter tirade against US government agencies including the FBI and CIA, and a tune called Condi Condi - supposedly a "love song" for US National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice.
Some US commentators have compared Earle's stance to that of film-maker Michael Moore, whose anti-George Bush box office hit Fahrenheit 9/11 has been widely condemned by government supporters.
Earle, an eight-times Grammy nominee based in Nashville, caused a storm with his 2002 song about Lindh, who was jailed for 20 years for serving with fighters in Afghanistan allied to al-Qaeda.
The song, John Walker's Blues, describes Lindh as "an American boy raised on MTV" who sought out another culture because he felt alienated from his native country.
Its release led to Earle being vilified by some in the US media as "unpatriotic" and even "a traitor".
Songs on his new album include Home to Houston, containing the lyrics: "When I pulled out of Basra they all wished me luck just like they always did before... I said 'God get me back home to Houston alive and I won't drive a truck anymore'."
In liner notes to the CD, describing the atmosphere of its recording in late spring, Earle writes: "The prisoner abuse scandal had just broken and the Bush administration, still reeling from the 9/11 commission hearings, was circling the wagons.
"The Democrats, for their part, were carefully (sometimes, in my opinion, too carefully) trying to sort out how best to press the advantage.
"The most important presidential election of our lifetime was less than seven months away and we desperately wanted to weigh in, both as artists and as citizens of a democracy."
Danny Goldberg, head of Earle's label Artemis Records, said on the singer's website: "If Steve Earle can get a gold album for The Revolution Starts Now, it would make the same kind of statement that people like you made in getting Fahrenheit 9/11 to $100m."
He campaigns for abolition of the death penalty in the US
Earle, an outspoken opponent of the death penalty and a high-profile supporter of Amnesty International, also campaigns against landmines.
Born in Virginia, he grew up in Texas before moving to Tennessee. His earliest albums in the 1980s were steeped in country themes of lonesome highways and broken hearts, but he has since moved towards more overtly political material.