SOLD OUT: Steve Earle & The Dukes

Steve Earle & The Dukes

Steve Earle has released his fifteenth studio album, The Low Highway, to worldwide critical acclaim in
Spring 2013. Magnet Magazine stated in their 9 out of 10 star review, "This time out, he brings all his
influences together into an LP that may be his most musically diverse offering yet" with PopMatters
stating that it is Earle's best record since 2004's Grammy Award-winning album The Revolution
Starts...Now. The album and corresponding live tour features his celebrated live band The Dukes, which
also features the husband & wife duo Chris Masterson & Eleanor Whitmore (otherwise known as the
recording artists The Mastersons) as well as longtime Dukes members Kelley Looney and Will Rigby.
A protégé of legendary songwriters Townes Van Zandt and Guy Clark, Earle quickly became a master
storyteller in his own right, with his songs being recorded by Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Emmylou
Harris, Waylon Jennings, Travis Tritt, The Pretenders, Joan Baez and countless others. 1986 saw the
release of his debut record, Guitar Town, which shot to number one on the country charts and
immediately established the term “New Country.” What followed was an extremely exciting and varied
array of releases including the biting hard rock of Copperhead Road (1988), the minimalist beauty
of Train A Comin’ (1995), as well as the politically charged masterpiece, Jerusalem (2002) and the
Grammy Award-winning albums, The Revolution Starts…Now (2004), Washington Square
Serenade (2007), and Townes(2009). His previous album, I’ll Never Get Out Of This World Alive (2011),
was also Grammy Award nominated.
Earle is also recognized as an actor from his roles in the acclaimed HBO Original Series The
Wire and Treme (both from celebrated writer David Simon) as well as appearances on Law & Order and
the Tim Blake Nelson film Leaves Of Grass. He will be seen in the forthcoming feature film The World
Made Straight, co-starring Minka Kelly, Noah Wyle, and Haley Joel Osment. He is also host of The Steve
Earle Show: Hardcore Troubadour Radio, on Sirius XM Radio.
2011 saw the publication of his debut novel, like the album, also titled I'll Never Get Out Of This World
Alive. Of the novel, Patti Smith stated, “Steve Earle brings to his prose the same authenticity, poetic spirit
and cinematic energy he projects in his music. I’ll Never Get Out Of This World Alive is like a dream you
can’t shake, offering beauty and remorse, redemption in spades.” A forthcoming memoir and novel are
also set to be published by Twelve, an imprint of Grand Central Publishing/Hachette Book Group.

The Mastersons

The Mastersons.
Husband and wife, singing and playing together.
And they're each deft instrumentalists, and they've spent years playing in others' bands
before coming together as a unit. They're bound by music and an uncommon depth of
companionship, they're good enough to make Steve Earle swoon, and all of that sounds
quite nice.
Until 16 and a half seconds into track one, when Eleanor Whitmore begins singing, "The
twitch in my left eye came back today."
"Yeah, we're not exactly gazing lovingly at each other while we're playing these songs,"
says guitarist Chris Masterson. "Sometimes the 'couple' thing can seem a bit schmaltzy.
We're more a band than a duo, and we're not going to be George and Tammy. We
might not even be John and Exene."
That's not to say that these folks don't love each other, or that they aren't of a piece. It's
just that listening to The Mastersons - either live or on their immediately engaging,
musically expansive debut album, Birds Fly South (due out April 10 on New West
Records) - isn't akin to eavesdropping on two soulmates' impossibly intimate
conversation. This is more fun than that, with bright melodies that lead to dark lyrics,
inventive harmonies and enough sparkle and twang to fashion a Porter Wagoner suit.
Together, Whitmore (who plays guitar, violin, mandolin and most anything else with
strings) and Masterson arrive at a singular blend that Emmylou Harris speaks of as "the
third voice," one distinct from its individual elements.
"Eleanor on her own has a beautiful voice, far better than mine," Masterson says. "But
when we come together, something bigger happens."
That "something bigger" is captured in full on Birds Fly South, an album with soul and
groove and teeth and not an ounce of schmaltz. Like the Jayhawks or Buddy & Julie
Miller, it exists in an expansive territory that encompasses rock, pop, blues and country,
but this is not an "If you like x, then you'll like y" kind of record. It's an unexpected and
frequently astonishing melding of sensibilities, from two unique yet perfectly-matched
Both the Denton, Texas-born Whitmore and Houston-reared Masterson have been
musicians for as long as they can recall. Whitmore's parents were both musicians, her
mother an opera singer and her dad a folksinger who piloted Delta airplanes for a living.
She began playing fiddle at age four, and she and sister Bonnie (now a touring
songwriter) played in the family band as kids, and she studied fiddle with Texas swing
master Johnny Gimble. Masterson was playing searing blues in Houston clubs at age
13, and he spent his adolescence as a disciple of blues greats Big Walter Price and TBone Walker.
"We were both doomed from the start," Whitmore laughs. "Actually, we were lucky. It's
rare to have supportive parents that believed and expected we would play music and be
successful. Most people that have a passion for music aren't that fortunate."
Whitmore and Masterson apprenticed for years with other musicians, she with Regina
Spektor, Susan Gibson, Kelly Willis, Diana Ross, Will Hoge and others, he in the bands
of Jack Ingram, Son Volt, Bobby Bare Jr. and more. They met in 2005 and each

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