New Projects for Steve Earle

Country renegade Steve Earle will release his ninth studio album, Transcendental Blues, on May 23 on E-Squared/Artemis. Earle again worked with his “twangtrust” production partner Ray Kennedy on the project. The promotional bio says Earle and Kennedy “continue to explore and blur the boundaries of country, pop, bluegrass, rock and Irish music” on the set. Earle is backed by his current edition of The Dukes (guitarist David Steele, bassist Kelley Looney and drummer Will Rigby) on most of the album. However, in keeping with the spirit of last year’s The Mountain, Earle keeps his hill-country hand sharp with Tim O’Brien & The Bluegrass Dukes (featuring ringers Darrell Scott, Casey Driessen and Dennis Crouch) on “Until the Day I Die.” The singer duets with his sister, Stacey Earle, on “When I Fall.” (Incidentally, Stacey Earle’s second indie album, Dancing With Them That Brung Me, will come out on the same day of her brother’s release.) Steve has also been busy working on tracks for an upcoming film about political activist Abbie Hoffman. He and Sheryl Crow have recorded a duet of the Chambers Brothers 1968 classic “Time Has Come Today,” and he is producing a duet of Jackson Browne and Joan Osborne covering Bob Dylan’s “My Back Pages.”