[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Tuesday, 17 August, 2004, 07:21 GMT 08:21 UK
Protest singer Earle blasts US war
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.

Steve Earle
Earle has been accused of being unpatriotic
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.

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.
Rollin' into Baghdad wonderin' how he got this far, just another poor boy off to fight a rich man's war
Lyric from Rich Man's War

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.

Been called a traitor and a patriot, call me anything you want to but just don't forget your history
Lyric from F the CC

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.

Oh Condi Condi beggin' on my knees, open up your heart and let me in won'tcha please
Lyric from Condi, Condi
"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."

Steve Earle
He campaigns for abolition of the death penalty in the US
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."

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.

Elton attacks 'censorship' in US
17 Jul 04  |  Entertainment
Ronstadt casino furore over Moore
20 Jul 04  |  Entertainment
Dixie Chicks booed at music awards
22 May 03  |  Entertainment
US rockers in anti-Bush campaign
05 Aug 04  |  Entertainment


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific