SEVEN wives, time in jail, problems with addiction - you name it Steve Earle has done it.

The maverick signer-songwriter can also add providing a brilliant night’s entertainment to that list following this compelling show in Manchester.

Earle on his own is always good value, but add his long-time backing band, The Dukes and new additions, the current Mrs Earle, country star Allison Moorer and fiddle player Eleanor Whitmore (aka the Duchesses) and the results are stunning.

In a show lasting close to three hours we were treated to most of Earle’s new album, I’ll Never Get Out Of This World Alive, plus a detailed trawl through the extensive back catalogue, which took us on a musical journey through Americana from Nashville to New Orleans with a bit of bluegrass and dirty rock and roll thrown in for good measure.

No Steve Earle show would be complete without the bearded wonder making a political point or two and so bankers, the American government and attacks on trade unions came in for some spirited criticism.

But for a the expected polemic, this was really Steve Earle having a great time with his friends.

A wonderful moment came while Alison Moorer was bringing the first half of the show to a close taking centre stage.

Standing proudly at the side of the stage, Steve Earle held their 18-month old son in his arms with a look of pure joy on his face.

Musically the highlights were many - Moorer’s achingly beautiful cover of A Change is Gonna Come, rousing versions of Ain’t Never Satisfied and Copperhead Road and a full band version of This City which Earle wrote for the HBO series Treme.

Guitarist Chris Masterson added some wonderfully relaxed, dirty riffs into proceedings and the band swapped instruments at the end of virtually every song.

This was a special night from a special talent.