"I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive" was not only Hank Williams' hit song and credo but this year it also has become Steve Earle's tongue-in-cheek mantra as well. With a new record and novel bearing that title, Earle tackles mortality in all his inimitable, hard-chargin', roguish and reckless ways.
Even I couldn't escape that song's shadow recently. I just got back from New Orleans where, in a Quarter bar, I overheard some people talking about how Steve Earle had been killed.
In disbelief, I walked over and said, "What?" The man explained, "No, we're talking about Earle's character on HBO's Treme show, who got shot in the last episode."
Sorry for the spoiler, but I was relieved — after all, I was supposed to interview the guy.
Luckily, I got the chance soon enough. Speaking with me by phone from his tour bus as he and his band, The Dukes and Duchesses, rumble through the backroads of Alabama, Earle explains, "I signed a piece of paper that I couldn't tell anybody about the death (on Treme). They didn't tell me officially until about three weeks before we shot the episode. It was a brutal shooting, but that's New Orleans."
Steve Earle and The Dukes and Duchesses featuring Allison Moorer perform July 27 at Oakley’s 20th Century Theater. Go here to read Greg Gaston's full interview.