Virginia based folk and country singer/songwriter Steve Earle has just released a new acoustic song “Times Like These,” a song that depicts the tension of the Trump presidency. A full band performance of the song will be released on Record Store Day this year, which was moved to August 29 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The song is as melancholic as it is beautiful, as Earle’s raspy voice pairs perfectly with the acoustic strumming of his guitar. Earle relfects on the current state of America, as he sings, “Had a dream and a dream lives on / but we still got miles to go,” referencing Martin Luther King’s famous “I Have A Dream” speech and relating it to today’s society. While Earle sings of almost quitting during times like these, he still is able to inject a feeling of hope in his lyrics that resonates throughout the song.
Spin notes about the song, “The bare-bones recording, with Earle unaccompanied on acoustic guitar, stresses the urgency of ending the Trump administration . . . Its lyrics are sadly evergreen and reflect the problems that the country continues to face today.” The song was written in 2017 at the beginning of Trump’s presidency, but the lyrics have an even more profound meaning currently when considering the current divisiveness of the country.
Earle and his band, the Dukes, are coming off of the release of their most recent album Ghosts of West Virginia, which dropped just last month. The album describes the story of the Upper Big Branch coal mine explosion in 2010, in which 29 miners died, as mxdwn’s Spencer Culbertson notes that the album, “acknowledges the emotional toll of this disaster on those who lived through and must live with the aftermath.”