Synopsis by Mark Deming
In the fall of 2002, singer, songwriter and political activist Steve Earle released an album of songs written in the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, entitled Jerusalem. One of its songs, "John Walker's Blues" -- written from the perspective of John Walker Lindh, a Muslim from America who was discovered fighting alongside Taliban forces -- triggered off a flurry of controversy, and Earle found himself having to defend his views, his patriotism, and his right to free speech in the press. Steve Earle: Just an American Boy is a documentary which follows Earle as he tours in support of the Jerusalem album, speaks to journalists about his songs and the looming war in Iraq, writes and directs his first play (Karla, a dramatization of the life and death of Karla Faye Tucker, the first woman ever to be executed by the Texas penal system), discusses his outspoken opposition to the death penalty, and, with his band, shows why he's become one of the most critically acclaimed singer/songwriters of his generation. Steve Earle: Just an American Boy was directed by Amos Poe, who previously helmed the groundbreaking document of New York's nascent punk rock scene, Blank Generation.
rock-music, roots-music, singer, songwriter, career-retrospective, on-the-road