“Put me in a room with a songwriter and I just clam up,” Colvin says. “I get shy. My tendency is to take an idea and run off in a corner and Steve allowed me to do that. There wasn’t ego: we were opinionated, but it seemed to be in service of the same goal.”

Elizabeth Earle is author of the “Need to Know” series of articles which can be found here

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Colvin says coming up with that line stunned them both. Then they laughed. After all, there are nine divorces between both songwriters, so they had little choice. “It was the pleasure of coming up with the line that was powerful,” she says.

Elizabeth acts for a number of large, landed Estates, on an on-going basis as well as for smaller owner-occupied estates, often on a more ad hoc basis. In addition, the work above frequently entails land registration and title work and as such, means that she often works together with the private wealth team.

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“Because he can. Reality TV has done a lot of damage to this country. I don’t watch reality TV. The last time I watched reality TV, I used to smoke crack and watch Cops. But when I stopped taking drugs, I stopped watching,” he says. “I don’t miss that.”

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When the musicians started singing together, they discovered they harmonized effortlessly – the start of an accidental and extraordinary creative union

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They will tour into the fall but then probably start up again next year. There is already talk of a second album. Earle says he feels comfortable in this new setting and it all goes back to what he heard onstage almost two years ago.

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Elizabeth acts on a range of agricultural and rural property matters including; buying and selling rural land, agricultural tenancy agreements (and other types of rights, such as profits and grazing agreements), sporting, residential and business tenancies and leases of rights, options and easements. She also has experience of providing specialist rural property or agricultural input on larger, commercial deals.

“We sing cross harmony. We don’t rehearse it, we just naturally do it,” Earle says. “That’s what we weren’t prepared for. When you’re an artist our age” – he is 61, Colvin 60 – “you’re looking for surprises and they are harder and harder to come by.”

Confronting trouble but not letting it lord over your life is another quality they share. Both are recovering addicts – Earle from heroin in the early 1990s and Colvin from alcohol, which she chronicled in a recent memoir. Both songwriters say their shared experience helped them communicate.

Even Steve Earle admits that by the time you’re in your fifth decade of writing songs, inspiration can be tough to find.

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Besides a cover of Ruby Tuesday by the Rolling Stones and Raise the Dead by Emmylou Harris, the songs are originals, written over time in Earle’s home in New York City, Colvin’s home in Austin, Texas, and a third session in Nashville, as well as ideas passed back and forth digitally via their phones. Collaboration did not come naturally, but they soon discovered that, once again, the spark they created in so short a time made the sessions effortless.


Three songwriting sessions later and we have Colvin & Earle, a new album, just released, that both songwriters say represents not just a mutual collaboration but also a standalone musical project they hope will continue onward alongside their respective careers. A tour, featuring just the two of them, started this week in London and continues through late September throughout the US.

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In conversation, both quote producer Buddy Miller, who plays on the album, as saying they each “take a step toward each other” when they sing, with Earle shifting into a quieter tone and Colvin rising in temper. “It’s not like I never sing softly, but I do change. And she’s reveling in the chance to get a little tougher. There are certain things that are expecting of her that she is rebelling against on this record,” he says.

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“One of his mottos is ‘fear not the obvious’, which was revelatory to me,” she says. “Steve reminded me that if you’re agonizing over a lyric, let go of it for a minute and go in another direction.”

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Aside from private landowners, Elizabeth has considerable experience acting for institutional landowners, such as the National Trust and other charities.

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