Royal Festival Hall 26th October 2015

“I wanted to make an album with this band because they rock...They are the best band I've ever had the pleasure of standing in front of.” Steve Earle says of the current line up of his band The Dukes (and Duchesses.) Tonight's performance focussed on showcasing songs from Earle's latest album The Low Highway, with the title track starting

the outstanding two hour set.This band of multi instrumentalists managed to raise the roof at the Royal Festival Hall making for a lively Tuesday night on the Southbank. His image may

have changed over the years from the country music Axl Rose in the Copper head Road days to his present guru look, it is certain that he has lost none of his power as a songwriter. Although it is a shame he has never achieved the dizzy heights that the likes of Bruce Springsteen have, even though there are similarities to be found between the two musically.

He doesn't talk much between the songs, but when he does, what he says counts. He justly points out that the song writers who were originally influenced by the likes of Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan never experienced the same kind of hardship, until now. The current situation State side is something which Earle has become very passionate about, summed up in the Springsteenesque 21 Century Blues. He goes on to say that he has really become aware of this struggle since working on US show Treme – set in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The song This City, which featured in the show is a testament to the resilience of human spirit. 'This city won't wash away, this city won't ever drown'; Poignant lyrics on the day after another massive hurricane hit the States. He told a story about how he discovered that a Catholic Church a few blocks from his home had always had a soup kitchen, “the line just got bigger.” This spurred Earle to think that “we make a choice, who we see and who we don't see.” This increased awareness to the plight of others led him to write the thought provoking song Invisible.