When Steve Earle threw Hayes Carll under the bus in mid June by calling Hayes a “younger, skinnier, less talented singer-songwriter” than himself, it set up a potential showdown at Willie Nelson’s annual 4th of July Picnic where both men were scheduled to play this year. Held just outside of Austin at the Circuit of the Americas, Willie’s 2017 lineup included Jamey Johnson, the Turnpike Troubadours, Kacey Musgraves, Margo Price, as well as Earle and Carll.
The original Steve Earle quote came from The Guardian, and was in the context of Earle’s ex-wife Allison Moorer leaving him for Hayes. It was also in the midst of the roll out of Steve’s latest record So You Wanna Be An Outlaw where Earle went on the warpath against numerous individuals, including Noel Gallagher, Richard Buckner, and others.
This left many wondering how awkward it would be if Hayes and Earle crossed paths backstage. However the two men were set to play on different stages, with Carll playing on the main pavilion stage, and Steve Earle headlining the plaza stage. Carll played first at about 4:30 p.m., and according to numerous accounts, near the end of his set, said he was going to play a song he hadn’t done before live, and it prominently included the lyric, “I think she left you because you wouldn’t shut your mouth.” Hayes didn’t say the title of the song, or if it might show up on a future project.
This put all eyes on the always-outspoken Steve Earle, who played about two hours later. But no gruff was returned from the 62-year-old, at least not Hayes Carll’s way.
Meanwhile Allison Moorer is getting ready to release the long-rumored and long-awaited album with her sister Shelby Lynne called Not Dark Yet, covering songs from The Louvin Brothers, Merle Haggard, Nick Cave, Nirvana, and The Killers among others.