Steve Earle’s four MCA Records studio albums—Guitar Town, Exit 0, Copperhead Road, and The Hard Way—have been remastered from the original tapes by Robert Vosgien and cut for vinyl by Ron McMaster at Capitol Mastering for LP release on May 6.
Celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, 1986’s Guitar Town was Earle’s album debut, which propelled him into the charts and across the airwaves. The album hit No. 1 on Billboard‘s country albums chart and garnered two Grammy nominations for Earle: Best Male Country Vocalist and Best Country Song for the album’s title track, which reached No. 7 on Billboard‘s country singles chart. Certified platinum in Canada and gold in the U.S., Guitar Town also features “Goodbye’s All We Got Left,” which peaked at No. 8 on the country singles chart, as well as “Hillbilly Highway” and “Someday.”
Released in 1987, Earle’s follow-up album, Exit 0, was recorded with his touring band, The Dukes. The album hit the Top 20 of Billboard‘s country albums chart and earned Earle two more Grammy nominations: Best Male Country Vocal Performance for the album and Best Country Song for “Nowhere Road.” Another single from the album, “I Ain’t Ever Satisfied,” made the Top 25 of Billboard‘s mainstream rock chart.
Copperhead Road followed in 1988, achieving what Earle has described as a blend of heavy metal and bluegrass. The album’s guest artists include The Pogues on “Johnny Come Lately,” Strength In Numbers’ Sam Bush (mandolin), Jerry Douglas (dobro), Mark O’Connor (violin), and Edgar Meyer (bass violin) on “Nothing But A Child,” Bill Lloyd of Foster & Lloyd on acoustic guitar, and guest vocalists including John Cowan of New Grass Revival and singer/songwriter Maria McKee. The album peaked at No. 7 on Billboard‘s country albums chart, and went triple-platinum in Canada and gold in the U.S.
Earle was again joined by The Dukes for 1990’s The Hard Way, the last album he released before a hiatus that stretched into four troubled years away from the studio and the stage. The aptly-titled album was recorded in Nashville as Earle was struggling with severe drug addiction. Earle later told an interviewer, “I defend The Hard Way to the death, because I almost died in the process of making it.” In 2015, the album’s “When The People Find Out” was used as the end credits music for the HBO miniseries, Show Me a Hero.
An expanded 30th Anniversary Edition of Guitar Town will be released this fall in 2-CD and digital audio packages. Details will be announced.
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