WATCH: Steve Earle Rocks Austin with Raucous ‘Copperhead Road’ Performance in 2000

by Chris Haney
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On Sunday, musician Steve Earle celebrated his 66th birthday, and we’re taking a look back at one of his most electric performances of his hit song “Copperhead Road.”

The Nashville-based singer played a live recorded show at Austin City Limits on Nov. 12, 2000. The clip of “Copperhead Road” comes from the accompanying DVD from Earle’s album Live from Austin, TX. When he stepped onto the ACL stage, it had been 14 years since Earle’s first appearance in 1986.

In those 14 years, Earle had come out with five albums, including Transcendental Blues, which had just released in June. Earle played five songs off the new album amid his 15-song setlist during his ACL performance.

“These songs weave threads that bind Ireland and the American South, rockabilly and the Beatles, folk music and muscular rock and roll,” Rolling Stone wrote of his newest album at the time.

However, Earle broke out plenty of his older hits as well, including fan-favorite “Copperhead Road.” The musician and his band treated the ACL crowd to an almost 7-minute version of Earle’s classic. As usual, it starts off leaning towards an Irish folk song. As the song builds, it transitions into a heavier country-rock jam session. Watch Steve Earle and his band rip through “Copperhead Road” live on the ACL stage below.

Steve Earle Honors Late Son on ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live’

Earlier this month, Steve Earle was the musical guest on Jimmy Kimmel Live. Earle’s son and fellow musician, Justin Townes Earle, died from an accidental drug overdose in August 2020. The father paid tribute to his late son by performing a rendition of Townes Earle’s “Harlem River Blues.”

The song is arguably Townes Earle’s most popular track. In 2011, “Harlem River Blues” earned Townes Earle the Song of the Year at the annual Americana Honors & Awards.

Earle dealt with his son’s death the only way he knew how – through music. As he mourned, he created music and dived into his son’s catalog of songs as well. The end result was an album titled J.T., which Earle released a couple of weeks ago on Jan. 4. The release date is significant because it would’ve been his son’s 39th birthday.

The album is a tribute to Townes Earle, and features 11 tracks. They include “I Don’t Care,” “The Saint of Lost Causes,” and of course, “Harlem River Blues.” The proceeds from the new album will all go to Townes Earle’s 3-year-old daughter.

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