The rest of the album dives into territory both gruff and fun: stories of OxyContin tragedies and late-night DJs wondering if anyone's listening. In fact, "Satellite Radio" with its unashamed digital production (a big topic among crabby Earle purists) is my favorite track here.
But Earle's life right now isn't just the where or the what it's also the with whom. "Sparkle and Shine" is a sweet paean to his wife, the fine singer-songwriter Allison Moorer, whose voice graces many of the album's songs. In "Days Aren't Long Enough" Earle and Moorer give every line a passionate harmony, as if they can't bear to be alone even for a single word.
Steve Earle and Allison Moorer are at the Michigan Theater on Wednesday, March 5.
[Review published March 2008]