96KHZ/24-BIT FLAC, NewWestRecords/Warner Music Group (supplied by www.highresaudio.com)

Steve Earle’s 15th release, featuring his cracking road band The Dukes (& Duchesses), was produced in collaboration with his ‘Twang Trust’ production partner Ray Kennedy. His fans couldn’t possibly be disappointed by the outcome, as the vitality and virtuosity of the band is abundant throughout the album’s 12 songs. Earle does what he always does best: tells world-weary stories that amuse, frustrate and infuriate in equal measure. It was recorded in one of the largest and most revered studio spaces in Nashville, the historic RCA Victor Nashville Sound Studios built in 1964 by Chet Atkins and acquired by Ben Folds (of Ben Folds Five fame) in 2003. Where so many of Earle’s studio albums can be criticised for failing to portray adequately his gritty stage performances The Low Highway sounds creditably ‘live’ and energetic. Earle at his best. JB

Sound Quality: 75%

Hi-Fi News Lab Report

Background noise levels are higher than anticipated but there’s still plenty of activity from the strings, vocals and percussion up to ~30kHz. Note the spurious ~40kHz peak – present on all tracks except ‘Burnin’ It Down’. PM