Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Tallest Man On Earth "King Of Spain"

There was a time, several millennia ago, it feels, when I didn’t know the music of Steve Earle. My roommate at the time was a big fan, so we loaded up some Earle discs on the stereo, and we drank beer and listened.

There was something so familiar about his music, but I couldn’t quite place who he was sounding like to me, until “Hardcore Troubadour.”

“Springsteen. He sounds like Springsteen. What Springsteen song does this sound like?”

It was driving me nuts, because I knew it, I just couldn’t quite place it.

Then I got it:

“Rosalita!” and just as I said this, Earle sang the line:

He’s the last of the all night, do right,
Hey Rosalita won’t you come out tonight.
He’s the last of the hard core troubadours.

And it made me like Earle so much, because he wasn’t just a guy who sounded like Springsteen, doing a song that sounded like a Springsteen song. He was a guy who knew he sounded like Springsteen, doing a song that sounded like Springsteen song. That acknowledgement immediately diffused a possible dimissal of Earle as a blatant copycat.

And that only needed to be a temporary pass, because in the years since, Earle developed a distinctive voice and a style that obliterated any need to compare him to Springsteen.

Now if I may quote Arlo Guthrie . . . “But that’s not what I came to tell you about . . .”

Barbara pointed me in the direction of this European artist called The Tallest Man On Earth.

Though I found the song charming from the get-go, there was this moment when I started to say to myself, “Okay, Mr Tallest Dylan Impersonator . . .”

And he sang the line: “I’ll wear my boots of Spanish Leather, while I’m tightening my crown . . .” and I had the Steve Earle experience all over again.

So, Tallest Man On Earth, you have charmed me for now. Go forth, and develop your own distinctive voice and style, and I will love you always.

(Hear clips of "King Of Spain," "Hard Core Troubadour" & "Rosalita")

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