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Released: October 7, 1986

Rating: 4.271 (average of 8 ratings)

Genre: country rock

Quotable: “perhaps the strongest and most confident debut album any country act released in the 1980s” – Mark Deming, All Music Guide

Album Tracks:

  1. Guitar Town
  2. Goodbye’s All We’ve Got Left
  3. Hillbilly Highway
  4. Good Ol’ Boy (Gettin’ Tough)
  5. My Old Friend the Blues
  6. Someday
  7. Think It Over
  8. Fearless Heart
  9. Little Rock ‘n’ Roller
  10. Down the Road


sales in U.S. only ½ million
sales in U.K. only - estimated --
sales in all of Europe as determined by IFPI – click here to go to their site. --
sales worldwide - estimated ½ million


peak on U.S. Billboard album chart 89
peak on U.K. album chart --

Singles/Hit Songs:

  • Hillbilly Highway (3/22/86) #37 CW
  • Guitar Town (6/21/86) #7 CW
  • Someday (10/25/86) #28 CW
  • Goodbye’s All We’ve Got Left (2/14/87) #8 CW


Rated one of the top 1000 albums of all time by Dave’s Music Database. Click to learn more.

Guitar Town
Steve Earle
“On Steve Earle’s first major American tour following the release of his debut album, Guitar Town, Earle found himself sharing a bill with Dwight Yoakam one night and the Replacements another, and one listen to the album explains why – while the music was country through and through, Earle showed off enough swagger and attitude to intimidate anyone short of Keith Richards” (Deming).

“While Earle’s songs bore a certain resemblance to the Texas outlaw ethos (think Waylon Jennings in ‘Lonesome, On’ry and Mean’ mode), they displayed a literate anger and street-smart snarl that set him apart from the typical Music Row hack, and no one in Nashville in 1986 was able (or willing) to write anything like the title song, a hilarious and harrowing tale of life on the road (‘Well, I gotta keep rockin’ while I still can/Got a two-pack habit and motel tan’) or the bitterly unsentimental account of small-town life Someday (‘You go to school, where you learn to read and write/So you can walk into the county bank and sign away your life’), the latter of which may be the best Bruce Springsteen song the Boss didn’t write” (Deming).

“Even when Earle gets a bit teary-eyed on My Old Friend the Blues and Little Rock ‘n’ Roller, he showed off a battle-scarred heart that was tougher and harder-edged than most of his competition” (Deming).

Guitar Town is slightly flawed by an overly tidy production from Emory Gordy, Jr., and Tony Brown as well as a band that never hit quite as hard as Earle’s voice, and he would make many stronger and more ambitious records in the future, but Guitar Town was his first shot at showing a major audience what he could do, and he hit a bull’s-eye – it’s perhaps the strongest and most confident debut album any country act released in the 1980s” (Deming).

Review Source(s):

Last updated May 30, 2008.