The isles’ legion of country music fans should be in for a rare old treat leading up to the festive period when Virginian-born outlaw poet and one-time rabble rouser Steve Earle drops by for a solo gig.
It will be the singer-songwriter’s second outing in Lerwick and will take place on Friday 11th December at the 600-capacity Bowls Hall at Clickimin. It is scheduled to be the fifth and final date of the Scottish leg of his tour in support of 13th studio album Townes.
The record is a selection of covers in tribute to his late and great friend, folk cult hero Townes Van Zandt, who Earle also named his son (Justin Townes Earle) after. Although it is being billed as a solo concert, it is possible that he may be joined by his wife, singer Alison Moorer, and son.
In the week leading up to his visit, being organised by music promoter Davie Gardner, the 54-year-old will be taking in the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, Perth Concert Hall, Aberdeen Music Hall and the Inverness Ironworks, and in all he will play 25 dates in the UK and Ireland from September onwards.
Earle first shot to fame with his nasal drawl and rough-hewn brand of rocked-up country on his 1986 debut album Guitar Town and subsequent releases, before various drug problems including heroin addiction left him destitute and living on the street. He wound up in jail on drugs and firearms charges.
But having kicked his destructive and debilitating drug habit while behind bars, he rejuvenated his career with a major change of musical direction and has arguably made his best music in the ensuing years.
Eschewing the musical straitjacket of Nashville country, he has drawn on a wider palate including bluegrass, garage rock, outlaw country and acoustic folk, latterly pursuing an increasingly more overt political stance in his songwriting.
Earle previously played a solo gig at the Clickimin back in August 2003 in support of his album Transcendental Blues, widely recognised as one of the best of his career.