Sign up for our free newsletter

Free D.C. news, delivered to your inbox daily.

FRIDAY

“Bobby didn’t discover heroin in L.A. Hell, he grew up in San Antonio, Texas, 150 miles from the Mexican border…[where] brown heroin steadily seeped across the Rio Grande like tainted blood from a gangrenous wound. Bobby first tried it at…a friend’s house when he was fourteen. For years he managed to get away with his off-and-on habit. He always managed to detox in time for this tour or that record, and even if he was dope-sick he never missed a show. By the time he met Kim, though, it was starting to catch up with him. Once Bobby left his family and moved to L.A., cheap, strong dope, guilt, and a long nasty divorce combined to provide him with all the excuse any addict needs to bottom out.” Steve Earle may have set aside his beat-up guitar to work on his authorial debut, Doghouse Roses, but the Texas roots-rocker certainly didn’t abandon his chief source of inspiration: In the 11 short stories here, Earle fleshes out familiar autobiographical themes of burned-out men, fed-up women, and all the drugs and music in between. For the most part, the lyrical tales resonate without the accompaniment of guitar jangle and percussive thump, and what Earle lacks in narrative polish, he makes up for with bare-knuckle charm and firsthand knowledge of both life on the road and, in the case of that titular tale, life on the needle. Besides, no matter how many wrong turns Earle’s soul-sick characters might take—whether in his songs or in his stories—you can’t help wishing you were riding shotgun with ’em anyway. The rocker-turned-author puts in an appearance at 7 p.m. Friday, June 15, at Olsson’s Books and Records, 2111 Wilson Blvd., Arlington. Free. (703) 525-4227. (Sean Daly)