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David Allan Coe once said that the perfect country and western song had to reference mama, trains, trucks, prison and gettin' drunk. It's safe to say that Steve Earle feels that such references are necessary in literature as well. Earle learned his lessons the hard way. Failing to take heed of the cautionary tales of Merle Haggard, Waylon Jennings and Hank, Jr., Earle battled booze and drugs and even served the obligatory prison stint. These themes serve as inspiration for his new book, Doghouse Roses (pictured), a collection of semi-autobiographical short stories penned by one of popular music's most tragic and talented personalities. This Sunday, Earle abandons his trademark acoustic guitar for a simple stool and microphone and favors the crowd with selections from his book. Like some sort of backwoods Bukowski, he relates stories so intimate that you can smell the filth and feel the caked grime of his world through his words. Hear him this Sunday, June 9, 8 p.m., at the Cat's Cradle in Carrboro (967-9053) and Monday, June 10, 7 p.m. at the Regulator Bookshop in Durham (286-2700). Call for details. --Zach Hanner

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