I once went to a Mary Chapin Carpenter show just so I could see the opener, Steve Earle, for the first time.
He didn't disappoint (and Mary met my low expectations), and I am excited that he will be performing at Red Butte Garden this coming summer, in a double-bill with Los Lobos.
This is the first song I ever heard Earle sing, and you can see why it's arresting. "Ellis Unit One" was on the "Dead Man Walking" soundtrack, and I bought the CD to hear tracks by Springsteen, Vedder, and Waits, among others. But this was the best-written of the bunch. Obviously owing a hug debt to Springsteen's "Nebraska" album, the song is a gentle indictment of capital punishment not as strident as some of Earle's later songs against the practice.