Michael W. from LEAVENWORTH, KS Reviewed on 8/17/2010...
This CD by Steve Earle marks, in my mind, the second half of his career. The first half had great music but was marred by drug use and a prison stint. After he got out, this CD has the best music from start to finish since his debut CD, Guitar Town. Since then, he has hit and missed the mark of subsequent releases but this one hit the bullseye with me.
Top American Artist
Harris J. Schneider | Skokie, IL USA | 02/08/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is the album that began to put Steve Earle into the category of the best american musical artist currently working. From the opening strands of "I Feel Alright" to the closing pop tune of " You're Still Standing There", there's not a misstep on the album. Train A Comin' began Earle's return to form, but this is the first major step on the way to his stature as a premier artist. As a group the trilogy of: this record, along with "El Corazon" and "Transcendental Blues" is as great a trio of records as any artist has released since the early days of Elvis Costello, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan and The Beatles. I used to think El Corazon was Earle's creative peak, but the more I listen to I Feel Alright, the more I can't separate the two. Anyone out there who likes rock and roll, alt country, or alt folk will love this record. From the raucous "Unrepentant" to the quiet "Valentines Day", to the twangy "South Nashville Blues", every base is covered and there's not a bad track on it."
I Feel It's a Darn Good Album
Brian D. Rubendall | Oakton, VA | 08/16/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Steve Earle went all the way to the edge of chemical oblivion and managed to pull himself back from the brink. He sings about it frankly on "CCKMP," which stands for Cocaine Cannot Kill My Pain, one of the most harrowing songs ever commited to wax (plastic?). It is the centerpiece to "I Feel Alright," which marked the return of Earle as a creative force after all of his personal troubles. No, it is not a happy album, but it also isn't a world class bummer fest like Neil Young's classic "Tonight's the Night." The best of the remaining tracks are "Harcore Troubadour," the title track, the ballad "Valentine's Day," "South Nashville Blues," and the duet with Lucinda Williams," You're Still Standing There," the astonishment of which could be directed at Earle himself. Not every track is a classic, but enough of them are to make it a first rate album."
Another great record from Earle
Matthew Parks | DURHAM, NC USA | 06/11/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"After a series of what has now been five 5 strong albums after his release, it's now almost hard to remember back to the time when Earle was, as he calls it in album's liner notes, "locked up." "I Feel Alright" was actually the second album Earle released after his release, but it is the single Earle record that addresses that period of his life most directly, and more than that, his most personal record either before or after kicking the heroin habit that threatened to ruin his career. From the tough acoustic rhythm and determined spirit that power the title track, to the bluesy dispair of "CCKMP" and "South Nashville Blues," Earle gives it all he's got for the first time since Copperhead Road. It's definately worth the effort once again. "Hard-Core Troubadour" is the kind of tune Springsteen should have written for "Born to Run." "Now She's Gone" shows that men don't have a monopoly on being bad. The bluesy shuffle and class rift of "Poor Boy" would have fit right into a Hank Williams record. "Billy and Bonnie" tells the truth about modern day Bonnie and Clydes in the form of a perfect folk ballad. 'Valentine's Day" offers a moment of quite poetry. Among the strongest tracks is the album's closer, a jangly, folky duet with the ever-brilliant Lucinda Williams."
It Really Doesn't Get Any Better...
Brett J. Valjalo | Walnut Creek, CA United States | 10/08/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There are a handful discs released by American rock artists in the 90's that are destined to be considered outright classics many years down the line. In this category, I would put "10" by Pearl Jam, "Girlfriend" by Matthew Sweet, "Anodyne" by Uncle Tupelo, "August and Everything After" by Counting Crows, Dylan's "Time out of Mind", and this disc by Steve Earle.I bought it the day it came out, it has never left the changer since. I doubt more than a month has EVER gone by since when I did not listen to this CD. This disc covers the gamut of 'americana' styles, and touches on nearly all of the complexities of the human condition in some way - most in passing, but some quite intently. There's bluegrass, country, rock, pop, classic rock, alt country - everything but hip-hop and metal is covered on this BRILLIANT cd. It helps to remember that this is his first major release after his release from prison on heroin charges and subsequent 'twelve stepping' his way back to sobriety after a 20 year drug habit that almost killed the man.With the exception (IMHO) of CCKMP, which I feel is a touch 'heavy-handed', EVERY SONG here is a classic. When you listen to it, you find yourself thinking "that one MUST be a cover of some classic tune" or "this must be his greatest hits cd". It's like there's no way all these songs could be on one album, all written by one person. It's THAT good. Trust me.
There are some unbelievable 'moments' on this album, when the words meet the melodies and the music behind them paints the exact picture the lyrics are meant to convey. Steve simply reaches a level of songwriting perfection rarely seen in music today. Case in point: I don't think it'd be possible to write a more beautiful song than "Valentines Day", even given a million monkeys and a million years. When he's singing "there's so much I wanna say - but all the words just slip away - the way you love me everyday is valentines day" in that gruff voice of his, over that perfectly subtle string section and male voice choir? Well, lets just say: it is touching enough to bring a tear to anyone's eye. Well, at least to anyone who has really known the ups and downs of life and love. Although it took until I was at a point in life when that song 'applied' before I realized how truly poignant and perfect that song is, once I got it, I really "got it", and now the tune takes me back to that moment every time. Sometimes, it still makes me cry, though the source of the original heartache is long forgotten. This cd is like that in a lot of places. The closing duet with Lucinda Williams is similarly bordering on utter perfection in terms of voice, music, lyrics, poignancy. It is all just so REAL ...Like most great records, I Feel Alright has so much personality that it becomes like a good friend - always there when you need it, offering advice, cheering you up. It has become "a part of my life", after all these years, and I really think everyone should have a friend like this... Buy it. You won't be disappointed."
Brett J. Valjalo | 09/21/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've been a casual fan of Steve Earle over the years and always sort of liked him. I was in a record store listening to various CDs and this was in the new release section so I put it on and three songs in, all I could think was WOW. This is not a CD that takes time to grow on you. It is evident immediately how good it is. You feel his pain but you feel his optimism on this album. As everyone else has mentioned, the Lucinda Williams duet is a real treat. If you buy one Steve Earle album this should be it. I also highly recommend El Corazon."