James Studholme (Police Dog Hogan) on Steve Earle: Why I Love

Ahead of the release of their brand new album, Overground (watch out for our upcoming review), various members of Police Dog Hogan have joined us At The Barrier to share some of their inspirations. First up, PDH frontman James Studholme picks out American Country Rock singer, Steve Earle and as he says – “here’s why I love Steve Earle.”

steve earle
Steve Earle – Underneath The Stars festival 2018

In October 1986 I was driving from upstate New York to Palm Springs with my friend Robert. It was what was known as a ‘drive away’. You drive, for free, someone’s car that they can’t be bothered to drive themselves to somewhere far far away in the USA. In this case a New York dentist and his wife were retiring to the Californian desert. It was a Chrysler 5th Avenue. Plush Burgundy velvet seats. The size of at least 3 normal British cars. Like a St James’ Club on wheels. I was playing in a band called the Wright Brothers at the time and we were on the fringes of what would come to be called the Alt Country scene. I’d never really listened to Country Music but somehow I was writing it with out understanding what it was. As we left the big towns of the east the radio landscape started to shift and on repeat out on the plains were Dwight Yoacham with Guitars and Cadillacs, Randy Travis and Nanci Griffiths amongst more traditional shiny country fare.

It struck a chord in me. This was MY music! Those guys stood out but what stood out most was Guitar Town by Steve Earle. We couldn’t get enough of it. The story of our trip is immortalised in the song The More Things Change on the
Police Dog Hogan album From The Land Of Miracles.

From those days on I’ve remained a loyal and devoted fan. More or less a completist. Through his drug addiction, jail, slightly over political hectoring shows ( N.B Hammersmith Apollo ) and out the other side.. We saw him several times at the Mean Fiddler before his incarceration. Also several times after, at the old Town and Country Club, Shepherds Bush Empire and even the Festival Hall. His records are less consistent than they once were but there’s always a gem in there somewhere.

I took my middle son, Rafe, to his songwriting camp up near Woodstock 4 years ago. It was a proud moment for me when he selected my song Devon Brigade as one of his favourites from the camp and, even better, announced that Rafe’s song had a chorus ‘you could hammer nails with’ and was another of his favourites.

I rather wish Steve’s love of pies and general low prioritising of self care was not quite so apparent but he remains a prince in my eyes.

Many thanks to James for his words on the King of Copperhead Road himself and for kicking off the Police Dog Hogan: Why I Love takeover.

Watch out for more updates over the next few weeks as the release of Overground is accompanied by the Seven Crows UK tour that starts at The Met in Bury on 3rd February 2022 – dates here.

Here’s Hold On – the vibrant opening track from Overground:

Police Dog Hogan online: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

Steve Earle online: Website / Facebook / Twitter

You can read more from our extensive archive of Why I Love pieces from a wide array of artists, here.

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