Album: I Feel Alright
. . .
I Feel Alright wasn’t all tough-guy posturing and addiction breakdown songs. In fact the very last song on the record was a harmonica-driven pop song that always felt like it should have been a single, even if it wasn’t.
“You’re Still Standing There” opens with Earle’s utterly cheerful harmonica hook, blasting out over a bright accompaniment of guitars, organ, bass and drums. leading into an opening verse that where, like Desmond in Lost, he realizes that he has a constant.
I’ve spent my life following things I cannot see
And just when I catch up to them, they slip away from me
Now I’ve been down a thousand trails I’ve never walked before
And I found out that without fail, they lead me to your door
This goes directly into a chorus that is catchy and cheerful as all fuck, Earle totally and completely sure of himself about at least one thing.
And the world keep turning round and round
It leaves me hanging in the air
My heart keeps turning upside down
And you’re still standing there
This goes directly back into that harmonica hook, all of which sets up the second verse, sung by Lucinda Williams. Now at this point in her career, Williams was smack dab in the middle of the interregnum between 1992’s Sweet Old World and 1998’s Car Wheels on A Gravel Road — co-produced by Earle — so it wasn’t like she was the massive star that she’d eventually become. Still, it was absolutely fantastic to hear her come in and sing the far more ambivalent second verse from the constant’s standpoint.
Now lately I see all the signs, I feel it in the wind
The same thing happens every time that you come back again
Now I admit that there are nights when I sit up and cry
But sometimes I turn out the lights and pray you’ll pass me by
And she also sings lead on the second chorus, with Earle doing the harmonies, a situation that is reversed when Earle sings the final choruses after one last verse which tells us that things might not have worked out the way he wanted it to.
Since you’re gone, my empty arms got nothing left to hold
Your memory cannot keep me warm, but it never leaves me cold
In any event, “You’re Still Standing There” may not have been a huge radio hit, but it was absolutely a huge hit around our house, and it’s probably Rox’s favorite Steve Earle song to this day. Might be mine, as well.
In any event, it was one of the highlights when we went down to San Diego to see Steve Earle, Lucinda Williams and Dwight Yoakam on 2018’s LSD tour, though I couldn’t find any great footage of them performing it. Decent footage, though.
“You’re Still Standing There”
“You’re Still Standing There” Live in Chicago, 2018
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