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.)
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.