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artists who made better music after they sobered up

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  • artists who made better music after they sobered up

    I can't think of any.

  • #2
    anders?

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    • #3
      Not sure I'd say "better," because I loved their prior work and still do, but Jason Isbell, Anders and James Taylor come to mind as artists who continued to make great music after becoming sober.

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      • #4
        Bonnie Raitt has been sober for many years now and continues to excel. Her old band mate Ivan Neville is another. Eric Clapton, as well, as some of his best work, like the blues album in the 90's, has been in his sober years. I won't argue that anything Eric has done will ever equal the "Layla" album, a very drug-fueled LP. But I think one has to be careful to not confuse youth vs. maturity with non-sobriety vs. sobriety, as many people's best work is done early in their career when they are full of youthful fire and may well be partying, before a change in life style becomes necessary. What sobriety did for Bonnie, Eric and Ivan was allow them to be productive in later years when the road they were on probably wouldn't have.

        I have not had a drink in 6 years...and I live in New Orleans and, as a musician, am around alcohol all the time...and I look to people like Bonnie and Eric for inspiration and proof a musician's life is not necessarily built around drugs and alcohol. (There are other more medicinal ways...). I am not trying to preach, I never do as it is an individual choice, but I will speak to the benefits of an alcohol-free life (even if I miss hanging out at Ms. Mae's, Snake & Jakes and Port Of Call, my old haunts.)
        Last edited by chopitulas; 06-14-2017, 03:37 PM.

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        • #5
          Good on you, tchoup.

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          • #6
            Steve Earle certainly fits.
            After seven marriages and a near fatal heroin habit, the great singer-songwriter is now single, sober and interested only in caring for his autistic son. He talks about death threats, blowing $1,000 a day on drugs and being an incorrigible romantic

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Lit View Post
              Not sure I'd say "better," because I loved their prior work and still do, but Jason Isbell, Anders and James Taylor come to mind as artists who continued to make great music after becoming sober.
              I am very,very, happy for Anders as a person. Some of the drug induced improvisations back in the Kurt Joseph,/Tim Green/Eric Bolivar daze were truly other worldy as Anders was searching for something in the cosmos with those guitar solos and he was touching that god somehow.. Of course, you had to hope he showed up and could make it through the night.

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              • #8
                Benny, do you rally consider Steve Earle's newer stuff better than Copperhead Road?

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                • #9
                  I'm gonna have to have one bourbon, one scotch and one beer and think about that question.
                  Last edited by 20-20; 06-14-2017, 04:41 PM.

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                  • #10
                    In addition to those already mentioned:

                    David Bowie - very subjective as to better/worse after sobriety, but a genuine family man afterward.

                    SRV - the first show I saw after he committed to sobriety was pretty pedestrian, even with brother Jimmy (also freshly sober) on board for the tour. It was good, don't get me wrong, even jazzy in places, but tenuous. Fast forward to the final tour with Jeff Beck, and holy shit - by turns almost angrily aggressive, then sensitive and melodic. At least the people closest to him got to experience a few years of seeing him at peace with, and liking, himself.

                    Tom Waits and Ryan Adams are both on this list, though some might argue that their best work is in the delusional, self-destructive, rear-view at this point - I'd disagree, Bad As Me and Prisoner are solid works in each artist's catalogs.
                    http://wcbsfm.cbslocal.com/2013/03/1...-patricks-day/

                    And the question's kind of a lose-lose proposition, with the exception that the parties were probably MUCH nicer to be around and could actually deal with and return affection without the soul-scorching isolation they felt before and during their use/abuse cycle. I thank my lucky stars that I never had an endless supply or urges/propensities about addictive substances. There but for the grace could've gone I.

                    Was Johnny Cash sober during the American recordings period? If so, +1.

                    I totally forgot banjo-picker and songwriter extraordinaire Danny Barnes. His playing & writing has soared in the years after the Bad Livers, a fitting band name if there ever was.
                    Last edited by duende; 06-14-2017, 05:40 PM.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by McGregor View Post
                      anders?
                      At the very least, Anders non-sober past has given him a lot of material for his now-sober work.
                      To say better/worse about any artists work is impossible, other than on a personal preference basis. This is just the sort of thread that escalates into hurt feelings.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Lit View Post
                        Not sure I'd say "better," because I loved their prior work and still do, but Jason Isbell, Anders and James Taylor come to mind as artists who continued to make great music after becoming sober.
                        good answer!

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by jonnygospeltent View Post
                          Benny, do you rally consider Steve Earle's newer stuff better than Copperhead Road?
                          I''d put The Mountain, Earle's disc with Del McCoury's band, right up there with the best of'em. Townes is great, but that's another story all together.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by larrybalmur View Post

                            I am very,very, happy for Anders as a person. Some of the drug induced improvisations back in the Kurt Joseph,/Tim Green/Eric Bolivar daze were truly other worldy as Anders was searching for something in the cosmos with those guitar solos and he was touching that god somehow.. Of course, you had to hope he showed up and could make it through the night.
                            It was really unlikely and unexpected, but I feel like Anders got even more psychedelic right after he got sober when he was in the "Mountain Manders" period....maybe 2009. To my ears, he was regularly soaring out to another planet with insane jams that didn't seem fathomable.

                            On the flipside, I was going to say "Definitely not Eric Clapton," but I will concede that he's had his moments since going sober. I still love that live album of early blues that he recorded with Wynton and the Jazz and Lincoln Center Orchestra, and there's no way he'd have been able to do that under the influence.

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                            • #15
                              Anders is the only artist I can think of whose work has gotten "wilder and crazier" since sobriety. He's more psychedelic and louder than he was when I first discovered him when he seemed like a sort of laid back Lowell George with a beautiful Theresa Anderson backing him up. I liked and like (on cd's) both segments of his career.

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