Personnel: Steve Earle (banjo); Allison Moorer (vocals); Smokey Hormel (baritone guitar); Jorge Continentino (bamboo flute); Patrick Earle (percussion, background vocals); Petey, Charlie Stavish, Downtown Proletariat Choir, Noah Goldstein, Lee Foster, Paul Bannister, Collin Hart, John King , Josh Wilbur (background vocals); John Medeski (electric piano, harmonium, organ, Mellotron); Jeremy Chatzky (acoustic bass, electric bass); John Spiker (electric bass, programming); Marty Beller (drums).
Additional personnel: Davi Viera (triangle); John Refosco (unknown instrument); Forro in the Dark, Allison Moorer, Smokey Hormel, Jorge Continentino.
Audio Mixer: John King .
Photographer: Ted Barron.
Alt-country king Steve Earle documents some major life changes on WASHINGTON SQUARE SERENADE. In the time between this album and its 2004 predecessor, Earle married singer-songwriter Allison Moorer, and the Texas-bred Nashville rebel moved to New York's Greenwich Village (hence the album title). These alterations are represented by the songs here, including odes to Earle's new home town and love ballads presumably written for Moorer.
The album marks a turning point on the sonic level as well. Earle, who says Moorer likened his usual old-school production techniques to civil war re-enactments, enlisted L.A.'s Dust Brothers (of Beastie Boys and Beck fame) to help update his methods. While SERENADE is far from hip-hop, there are some subtle electronic touches amid the rampant rootsiness, and there's more cut-and-paste cerebralism than garage-rock gusto to the arrangements. It all adds up to one small step for Earle, and if not one giant leap for 21st-century Americana, then certainly a lengthy stride.