When Steve Earle told The Guardian last month that his wife had left him for a "younger, skinnier, less-talented singer-songwriter," the stage was set for a showdown at Willie Nelson’s Fourth of July Picnic.
The singer-songwriter in question was Hayes Carll, now with Earle’s ex-wife Allison Moorer. And both Carll and Earle were set to perform within hours of each other at this year’s Picnic. (On separate stages, though.)
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Carll didn’t waste his opportunity to strike back. Near the end of his set on the Plaza stage he said he was going to do a song he handn’t done before.
He didn’t introduce the title, but the lyrics were a clear stab at Earle: "I think she left you because you wouldn’t shut your mouth."
There were a few good hours of speculation of what the outspoken Earle might say in return, but Earle didn’t retaliate (at least not on July 4).
Instead he put on a clinic on how to entertain a hot and tired Picnic crowd, putting three of his greatest hits in the middle of five of his most hard-driving new songs.
Carll might have struck back on Tuesday, but Earle’s set took the day.