Stephen 'Steve' Fain Earle (pronounced /??rl/) (born January 17, 1955) is an American singer-songwriter known for his rock and country music as well as his political views. He is also a published writer, a political activist and has written and directed a play. When he first came to prominence in 1986, he was viewed as a savior of country music (along with the likes of Randy Travis and Dwight Yoakam) and hailed by some as the "new Bruce Springsteen". In the later part of his career, after troubles with the law, drug addiction and his uncompromising viewpoints, he has become known as "the hardcore troubadour".