- Yesterday morning I heard Steve Earle on NBC’s morning show perform his song “John Walker’s Blues” and be interviewed on the song. (more info on the controversy over the song can be found at: http://www.steveearle.net/#jwb)
Hearing the song, I really, really like it. Earle’s voice and song is hauntingly beautiful, especially when he sings in Arabic. Lyrically, Earle has approached a very difficult subject with a great deal of sensivitiy and has given us the insite into what may have gone through John Walker’s head.
I know that the Nashville talking heads, the Toby Keith “kick a** USA” types, etc. will disagree with me here, but frankly I think they need to learn to engage their brains and listen to the song before they engage their mouths. Earle is singing the song from Walker’s perspective to tell a story. He is not endorsing Walker’s views or actions and in fact I think it is more of a sad lament song.
The difference is that Earle grieves over a young man who made some bad choices, while most folks can’t get past their anger to see the man.
Being able to get in someone else’s head and walk a mile in their shoes (as Adicus Finch of To Kill a Mockingbird might have recommended) is a gift that more of should use. I’m glad Steve Earle had the guts to do it and encourage us to do it as well.