Beefy bad boy Steve Earle — whose new album, El Corazón, is due in stores this week — was alt-country when alt-country wasn’t cool, crafting rough-and-tumble tales of woe while the guys from Son Volt were still in short pants. While Earle was in short pants, he discovered Bob Dylan’s 1966 masterpiece Blonde on Blonde.
”I got into Dylan when everybody else did, around the time of Highway 61 Revisited. I was just a kid, in the late stages of elementary school. But Blonde on Blonde had this feel about it. It was one of the first albums that I found myself listening to from beginning to end, over and over. ‘Just Like a Woman’ is one of the best tracks that Dylan has ever cut, period. Daniel Lanois and I were talking about that track when we were making [Emmylou Harris’] Wrecking Ball. Something came down in the studio, and I said, ‘That’s like ”Just Like a Woman.”’ And he said, ‘That’s really cool, ’cause that’s my favorite Dylan record.’ After that, we talked for about an hour and a half about that album.”