I’m participating in Hanspostcard‘s Song Draft – here’s my eighth pick.
For my 8th round pick in the song draft, I’d like to feature a song by one of my favorite artists, Steve Earle. Together with Bruce Springsteen, John Hiatt, and Frank Turner, Steve Earle would comprise the Mt. Rushmore, if you will, of my favorite artists.
I Aint’ Ever Satisfied is off of Earle’s second record, Exit 0, released in 1987. Given Earle’s life history (the varied musical styles, from country to rock to folk to bluegrass; the many record companies, string of marriages, and drug and addiction issues) it could perhaps be viewed as his theme song. The singer in the song is never satisfied, always moving on to the next thing, culminating in this humorous conclusion:
Last night I dreamed I made it to the promise land
I was standin’ at the gate and I had the key in my hand
Saint Peter said “Come on in boy, you’re finally home”
I said “No thanks Pete, I’ll just be moving along”
I’ve always loved that image, of Earle standing at the gate, and the bearded St. Peter welcoming him to heaven, and Earle saying no thanks, and walking off into the clouds (or whatever).
This is one of my favorite songs by Steve Earle, and that’s saying something since there are many. I think part of it is because of how I first heard it. I was driving in my car, flipping channels on the radio, looking for a song I recognized. I hit one channel and heard the initial acoustic guitar part of the song. Not recognizing it, I quickly flipped away. And then for some reason, I can’t tell you why, I decided to flip back to just hear a bit more of the song. And that’s when I heard the drums and piano kick in, and the main melody start, and I was hooked! Luckily at the end of the song, the DJ announced who it was, and I immediately knew I had to seek out the album. I had heard of Steve Earle but didn’t know any of his music. I loved Exit 0, went out and got his first album Guitar Town, loved it, and have been a fan ever since. In my mind, Steve Earle is one of the best American songwriters out there.
Would I have become such a big fan of Steve Earle if I had not flipped back to I Ain’t Ever Satisfied? Perhaps, as I’m sure I would have been exposed to his music some other way. But this experience made me feel that I was destined to be a fan if that makes sense. Something made me switch back to the song. And it taught me an important lesson – always be open to hearing new music, give a new song a chance even if it doesn’t sound like what you are expecting. Don’t ever be satisfied, if you will, by what you know or enjoy.