Steve Earle

The Revolution Starts . . . Now (Artemis/E-Squared)

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The revolution will not be televised, and it doesn't ever get much airplay, except on FM stations with frequencies in the low 90s. Yet Steve Earle's newest contribution to the political debate, The Revolution Starts . . . Now, could get plugged on radio, courtesy of a few right-wing talking heads.

Just as Earle raised the hackles of some Limbaugh wannabe in Nashville when he dared to probe the psyche of John Walker Lindh on 2002's Jerusalem, he's sure to piss off a few more Bush groupies this time with "Condi, Condi," a love song to the foxiest national-security adviser in U.S. history. (Earle doesn't agree with those who think he's being sarcastic, so let's hope he won't develop any crushes on Ann Coulter or Helen Chenoweth.)

Most of the songs deal with Earle's opposition to the war in Iraq and, like Jerusalem, are body-punchers. The musical appeal of Revolution, however, isn't as strong as some previous efforts. Except for "Condi" and the spoken-word "Warrior," which draws from Kenneth Branagh's adaptation of Shakespeare's Henry V, most of the CD is predictable. But a predictable Earle is still better than 98 percent of everything else. There's nothing old-time fans won't like, and in an election year, its front-and-center political message could bring in a whole new mob of followers.

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