Earle’s stories reflect the many facets of the man and the hard-fought struggles, the defeats, and the eventual triumphs he has experienced during a career spanning three decades. In the title story he offers us a gut-wrenchingly honest portrait of a nearly famous singer whose life and soul have been all but devoured by drugs. Billy the Kid” is a fable about everything that will never happen in Nashville, and Wheeler County” tells a romantic, sweet-tempered tale about a hitchhiker stranded for years in a small Texas town. A story about the husband of a murder victim witnessing an execution addresses a subject Earle has passionately taken on as a social activist, and a cycle of stories features the American,” a shady international wanderer, Vietnam vet, and sometime drug smuggler a character who can be seen as Earle’s alter ego, the person he might have become if he had been drafted.
Earle is a songwriter’s songwriter, and here he takes his writing gift into another medium, along with all the grace, poetry, and deep feeling that has made his music honored around the world.