Steve Earle, Glen Campbell & Opinions on Vic Mensa

Steve Earle

Over his decades long career, Steve Earle has been many things – songwriter, novelist, actor, activist. But for his latest record, So You Wannabe An Outlaw, he went back to the foundation he started from: outlaw country. Steve joins Jim and Greg to talk about about those early influences and how he sees his duty as a songwriter. He also performs a special solo set in front of a live audience at the Goose Island Tap Room in Chicago. Plus, a review of the debut album from Chicago rapper Vic Mensa and a tribute to the late Glen Campbell.

[Photo: Clare Perry]

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The Autobiography Vic Mensa

The Autobiography

This week, Jim and Greg review The Autobiography, the debut album by Chicago rapper Vic Mensa – a name already familiar around Chicago , with fans including Chance The Rapper and Kanye West. Mensa raps with a "genre-free approach to what hip hop is" while addressing his upbringing, his experiences with violence and drugs, and his own self-abuse - causing Greg to describe the record as brutally honest and "very emo." Jim and Greg applaud producer No I.D. both for recognizing Mensa's artistic abilities and for producing a succinct album, rather than a bunch of singles. While Jim and Greg note that Mensa definitely tries too hard with some of the lyrics, both agree that the album is "really impressive…and moving" and give it a double Buy It.

Steve Earle

Singer/songwriter is no longer sufficient enough to describe the artistic output of Steve Earle. The novelist, playwright, actor, activist AND singer/songwriter has released his 16th studio album, So You Wannabe An Outlaw. The record is a return to the outlaw country sound he cut his teeth on, recording most of it on a 1955 Fender Telecaster while "shamelessly channeling Waylon Jennings." Steve joined Jim and Greg at the Goose Island Tap Room in Chicago to perform a solo acoustic set and talk about his craft. "I realized that's what the job is…it's how we're the same, not how we're different…it's the universal things in these songs," says Steve of his job as a songwriter. In their wide ranging interview, Jim and Greg talk with Steve about finding empathy in political songs, balancing life while on tour, the research that goes into his songs, and which cities have the best Mexican food (sorry, Austin).

Glen Campbell

Glen Campbell

This week, we lost the legendary Glen Campbell. Campbell passed away at the age of 81 after a struggle with Alzheimer's Disease. In addition to being a top-tier country singer, he was also an excellent guitarist and a member of the famed Los Angeles Wrecking Crew of session musicians (for more on the Wrecking Crew, check out our in depth interview with Wrecking Crew member Hal Blaine). Glen played guitar on records by artists as diverse as Frank Sinatra, The Mamas and The Papas, and The Monkees. Briefly, beginning in 1964, he even played and sung with The Beach Boys on the road. Jim remembers Glen through his legacy as an extraordinary guitar player, highlighting an electrifying solo from Glen's live performance of "Galveston" on CMT back in 2002.

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