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With the recent release of his 15th album, “The Low Highway,” Steve Earle is enjoying what has become a consistent stream of critical praise over the past 15 years. One of the finest singer/songwriters in modern American music, Earle is also one of the most outspoken critics of late 20th and early 21st century American politics. His albums “Jerusalem” and “The Revolution Starts Now” offered incisive criticism of the Bush years, and earned Earle the considerable ire of certain members of the American right wing. More importantly, they proved Earle to be a songwriter of significance, a man capable of transforming the finest work of his major influences – Bob Dylan, Townes Van Zandt, the Bruce Springsteen of “Nebraska” – into a timely, topical and beautifully recorded statement on the present day.

“The Low Highway” continues this tradition, as Earle teamed with longtime studio collaborator Ray Kennedy, and expanded his band the Dukes to include the Duchesses – Earle’s wife Allison Moorer and Eleanor Whitmore of the Mastersons – for an album that touches on every aspect of his storied career.

Earle and band will perform a rare intimate area show at 8 p.m. Saturday in the Bear’s Den, Seneca Niagara Casino, Niagara Falls. Tickets start at $50 (box office, Ticketmaster).

– Jeff Miers