Singer-songwriter Steve Earle has never shied from thorny topics in his songs so when his latest album “So You Wannabe An Outlaw” arrived in June it was remarkable not just for what was – a return to hard-edged country music after recent explorations of folk, blues and rock and roll – but also for what it was not — a broadside aimed at the people and politics that produced President Donald Trump, the antithesis of the self-described socialist.
“I mean, basically, look, I didn’t know this was going to happen,” Earle says by phone recently from Boulder, Colorado, on the tour that brings him to the Troubadour in West Hollywood for shows on Friday, Aug. 11, and Saturday, Aug. 12. “I went on stage in Ottawa the night of the election … thinking we were going to elect the first woman president of the United States.
“And I came off and discovered we’d elected the first orangutan,” he says. “I was in shock like everybody else was.”
Earle says that despite having pulled together most of the songs – which lyrically tilted toward the personal and the individual stories – and despite having already booked recording time a month later in early December he wavered for a moment as the nation lurched in a new and largely unexpected direction.
“I thought about scuttling some songs and coming up with some overtly political stuff,” Earle…