One Track Mind: Steve Earle, “Invisible” from The Low Highway (2013)

Steve Earle, as is his way, gets beneath the bromides and the easy assumptions about the homeless, in a harrowing new song that digs out the hard-won scraps of remaining pride.

With “Invisible,” Earle examines the full sweep of their struggle, from the holes in their shoes to the demons that chase them down abandoned side alleys, without ever resorting to cliche, without ever talking down to them — and he does so within an appropriately raw-boned instrumentation.

The nervy strum of a guitar, the lonesome cry of a steel, the shattered — and shattering — sound of his double-tracked voice, all of it works in concert to present a picture as complete as any short story, and one just as filled with resonant detail.

Too, and this is an increasingly rare case of artistic symbiosis, the accompanying video actually adds dimension to a narrative that’s already unfathomably deep — illustrating just how easy it has become to blithely walk past this burgeoning problem.

“Invisible” is part of Earle’s forthcoming album The Low Highway, due April 16, 2013 from New West Records.

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso has explored music for USA Today, All About Jazz and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the nation by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Nick is now associate editor of Ultimate Classic Rock.
Nick DeRiso