Hear Miranda Lambert, Steve Earle’s New Duet ‘This Is How It Ends’

Hear Miranda Lambert, Steve Earle’s New Duet ‘This Is How It Ends’

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Monday, 19 June 2017
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They met in a Nashville beauty shop. That’s the brief, somewhat unlikely true story of how songwriters Steve Earle and Miranda Lambert first came face-to-face. That meeting, in addition to an even more unusual circumstance, led to the two writers collaborating on one of the standout cuts from Earle’s just released LP, So You Wannabe an Outlaw. “This Is How It Ends” is a heartbreaker of a tune about the dissolution of a relationship that was perhaps doomed from the start. Their weary voices are joined in harmony throughout each line of the song, interrupted only by a vibrant but bittersweet fiddle and guitar break before coming to an abrupt ending that accentuates the tune’s overall theme.

“Her last record is stunning,” Earle tells Rolling Stone Country of Lambert’s two-disc masterpiece, The Weight of These Wings. “When Guy Clark was ill and after he passed away I started coming here and co-writing a little bit. I tried to do that with him but then he got too sick to do it. But I made appointments with a few people to come in to town to write and Miranda was one of them. She and Allison [Moorer, Earle’s ex-wife] got their hair done in the same place when Allison and I first got married. The first couple of years we were [in Nashville] a lot more than I had been in the last 10 years. So, occasionally I would drop Allison off or pick her up at the beauty shop. That’s where Miranda and I actually met.”

That’s not, however, how they first became acquainted with each other. A fan of Earle’s work, Lambert wrote the title cut of her first LP, Kerosene, then realized that she had unconsciously created a tune that was reminiscent of Earle’s 1996 tune “Feel Alright,” the opening track on his LP I Feel Alright.

“I hadn’t even heard it, and I felt bad telling her that I never would have done anything about it either if I’d known, because I don’t do shit like that,” Earle says, noting that he’s not particularly litigious. “I’ve been sued enough, mainly divorces, so I don’t particularly care to be involved in that myself.”

Still, Lambert added Earle’s songwriting credit to “Kerosene,” entitling him to half of the song’s royalties from the million-selling LP. With the exception of “This Is How It Ends” and the tender “News From Colorado,” co-written by Earle with Moorer and his niece, Emily Earle, the singer-songwriter penned the remaining tracks on So You Wannabe an Outlaw by himself.

A deluxe version of the LP features covers of songs by outlaws Billy Joe Shaver (“Ain’t No God in Mexico”), Willie Nelson (“Sister’s Coming Home”/”Down at the Corner Beer Joint” and “The Local Memory”) and, of course, Waylon Jennings (“Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way”), whose 1973 LP Honky Tonk Heroes served as the sonic template for Earle’s new record.

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