a chip off the same earle    This article could have been a review of the father and son musicians Steve Earle and Justin Earle’s trajectory. One that would have to be told from the same bittersweet perspective as that of the saga of father-son singers like Tim and Jeff Buckley, Bob and Jacob Dylan and John, Julian and Sean Lennon.

We could have written about how, because of his father’s work, like that of a wandering minstrel, Steve Earle spent his childhood moving from place to place. We might have touched upon his love of music, his drug addictions, his political activism and the numerous marriages and break ups. We could also have focused on the Earle that was the fruit of one of those relationships. We could have talked about how he was abandoned by his father at the age of two. We might have discussed how, aged 12, the young Justin embraced both music and drugs with the same passion as his progenitor. We could have focused on the difficult relationship between father and son. We could have written about two fiery musical talents. We could have written about extreme sensitivities and about the strength of genetics.

But why write about something that has already been written about? The only thing we are interested in is this picture of father Steve and son Justin Towers Earle because it speaks to us of the customs and tradition that each one of us can create and destroy. Because it speaks to us of roots and love. And of how those roots and love can be broken and recovered again. While his father, a military man, was stationed in New York, Steve Earle was born, but the first time he took a step, he walked on Texas soil that his father had specifically brought for the occasion. When Justin, Steve’s son, was born, dad Steve spread out some Texas soil for his son to take his first steps on, too. Two years later Steve was gone and each one would follow their own path in life.