Steve Earle Releases Tribute Cover Of The Jerry Jeff Walker Classic, “Mr. Bojangles”

Danny Clinch

Last month Steve Earle & The Dukes announced their brand new, 10-track, Jerry Jeff Walker tribute album, JERRY JEFF.

Steve Earle himself points to Walker as one of his greatest inspirations in songwriting:

“There was a time in my life when I wanted to be Jerry Jeff Walker more than anything else in this world.

Looking back, it must have been more than obvious that, having yet to find a voice or persona of my own, I was emulating my hero; the Jerry Jeff we had all come to know and love.

The Gypsy Songman, who had arrived at the perfect moment to stand at the Austin epicenter of the latest chapter in the evolution of what was, then, referred to as Progressive Country.”

Today, Earle dropped his own rendition of the Jerry Jeff Walker classic song, “Mr. Bojangles,” which has been covered by greats like Bob Dylan and Sammy Davis Jr.

In fact, “Mr. Bojangles” was the first song Earle ever heard from the man at the age of 14, when his high school drama teacher gave him a copy.

Earle weighed in on the classic tune about the man he met in a New Orleans jail, saying that it’s not his only great song:

“There’s a tendency to think of Jerry Jeff around a relationship to one song. He was also such a great interpreter of other people’s songs.

But my main purpose in recording this album was to remind people that he wrote a lot of fucking great songs.” 

Earle moved to Nashville in the ’70s and actually got to know Jerry Jeff, as he eventually became his designated driver.

The full tribute album is set to drop on May 27th.

“Mr. Bojangles”


A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock