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The Late Movies: Steve Earle

In February, I braved the frozen tundra of Philadelphia’s Fishtown neighborhood to see Steve Earle in the intimate confines of the upstairs room at Johnny Brenda’s. I’ve been a fan of Earle’s for a long time and will happily, openly disagree with George Jones fans about who the “greatest living country singer” is, but seeing him in a small space, without a band and armed only with a guitar, a mandolin voice has only deepened my appreciation for him.

Earle isn’t really a household name, so to introduce him to fresh ears and draw any fans out in the comments, here’s a very subjective and biased “best of” selection. (If I didn’t include your favorite, don’t just whine about it. Put a link to the video in a comment!)

Copperhead Road

Probably Earle’s most well known song, “Copperhead Road” is also a good introduction to his style overall. Scotch-Irish musical elements? Check. Country and hard rock mashed together? Check. Story about outlaws and down-on-their-luck types? Check. References to the Vietnam War? Check.

Guitar Town

The title track from Earle’s debut album hews a little closer to a traditional country sound than some of his later work, but still hints at his melting pot of influences and styles enough that on his first tour to support the album he found himself sharing a bill with Dwight Yoakam one night and the Replacements on another.

Fort Worth Blues

When Earle was a teenager getting his start in Houston’s music scene, he met Townes Van Zandt. The cult country singer became a close friend, mentor and inspiration to Earle. Van Zandt died just a few days before Earle went on a European tour. When Earle got to Galway, Ireland, he wrote this song in tribute to his friend.

I Feel Alright

Earle released the album I Feel Alright soon after he got out of prison (the second of two “comeback” albums in a span of 18 months), and the title track has all the swagger of a man who can’t be beaten down.

The Devil’s Right Hand

Let’s switch it up and do a cover! While I like Earle’s original and Johnny Cash’s Unearthed version better than the Highwaymen’s take, I believe the respect of one’s peers is an important thing for an artist and I can think of few compliments bigger than having these four legends cover one of your tunes.

Steve’s Hammer

Earle is part of a long line of political musicians who sometimes use their songs as weapons in the war of ideas. Here, he takes things very literally and looks forward to the day when he doesn’t have to swing his “hammer” around and sing any more angry songs. I hope he’s not holding his breath.

The Galway Girl

Finally, here’s Earle as I saw him (I didn’t shoot the video), going to town on that mandolin and lamenting the blue-eyed, black-haired girl that got away.

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Netflix's Most-Binged Shows of 2017, Ranked
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Netflix might know your TV habits better than you do. Recently, the entertainment company's normally tight-lipped number-crunchers looked at user data collected between November 1, 2016 and November 1, 2017 to see which series people were powering through and which ones they were digesting more slowly. By analyzing members’ average daily viewing habits, they were able to determine which programs were more likely to be “binged” (or watched for more than two hours per day) and which were more often “savored” (or watched for less than two hours per day) by viewers.

They found that the highest number of Netflix bingers glutted themselves on the true crime parody American Vandal, followed by the Brazilian sci-fi series 3%, and the drama-mystery 13 Reasons Why. Other shows that had viewers glued to the couch in 2017 included Anne with an E, the Canadian series based on L. M. Montgomery's 1908 novel Anne of Green Gables, and the live-action Archie comics-inspired Riverdale.

In contrast, TV shows that viewers enjoyed more slowly included the Emmy-winning drama The Crown, followed by Big Mouth, Neo Yokio, A Series of Unfortunate Events, GLOW, Friends from College, and Ozark.

There's a dark side to this data, though: While the company isn't around to judge your sweatpants and the chip crumbs stuck to your couch, Netflix is privy to even your most embarrassing viewing habits. The company recently used this info to publicly call out a small group of users who turned their binges into full-fledged benders:

Oh, and if you're the one person in Antarctica binging Shameless, the streaming giant just outed you, too.

Netflix broke down their full findings in the infographic below and, Big Brother vibes aside, the data is pretty fascinating. It even includes survey data on which shows prompted viewers to “Netflix cheat” on their significant others and which shows were enjoyed by the entire family.

Netflix infographic "The Year in Bingeing"
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