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Steve Earle On World Cafe

Steve Earle
Ted Barron
Courtesy of the artist
Steve Earle

So you wanna be an outlaw?

OK, that's not my challenge to you; it's the title of the new album by Steve Earle. His goal with the album was to channel Waylon Jennings, and he brought in some heavy hitters to help — like Willie Nelson and Miranda Lambert, who both sing on the album.

Earle's got stories, and you're gonna hear them in this World Cafe session. That includes the time he got a letter of support from Waylon Jennings when Earle was in prison and the time Johnny Cash gave him a compliment at a truck stop — not to mention the time he had one of country music's toughest singers pull a gun on him.

Earle is also a father and a grandfather who has been married seven times, including to singer-songwriter Allison Moorer. She's been a gueston World Cafe, and so has Earle's son, Justin Townes Earle. We'll talk about Earle's views on love and family; about raising his youngest son, who is autistic and largely nonverbal; and how all of it feeds into Earle's music.

We start with a live performance of the title song on Earle's latest album. Stream the complete session in the player above.

Copyright 2017 XPN

Talia Schlanger hosts World Cafe, which is distributed by NPR and produced by WXPN, the public radio service of the University of Pennsylvania. She got her start in broadcasting at the CBC, Canada's national public broadcaster. She hosted CBC Radio 2 Weekend Mornings on radio and was the on-camera host for two seasons of the television series CBC Music: Backstage, as well as several prime-time music TV specials for CBC, including the Quietest Concert Ever: On Fundy's Ocean Floor. Schlanger also guest hosted various flagship shows on CBC Radio One, including As It Happens, Day 6 and Because News. Schlanger also won a Canadian Screen Award as a producer for CBC Music Presents: The Beetle Roadtrip Sessions, a cross-country rock 'n' roll road trip.