Alt-country veteran Steve Earle made his first Vegas performance in nearly a decade memorable for more than its 30-minute duration.
The Thursday-night set, part of Cosmo’s three-day Sunset Sessions music-industry gathering, found the 57-year-old Texan alone onstage, strumming an acoustic guitar and singing from the heart. Earle played 1988’s “Copperhead Road” and his cover of Tom Waits’ “Way Down in the Hole”—immortalized by HBO’s The Wire—plus four songs from upcoming album The Low Highway. “I’m obviously pimping a record or I wouldn’t be here,” Earle said, explaining his participation in a showcase made mostly for newish hopefuls. The small crowd reacted loudest to a new number Earle dedicated to “anybody out there still running a real record store or real hardware store” (chorus: “Thinkin’ ’bout burnin’ the Walmart down”).
One bummer, apart from the shortness: Earle’s repeated praise of his absent bandmates, in a town he hasn’t played since 2003. Come back soon, man, and bring ’em with you.