Justin Townes Earle has
had a wonderful career thus far and it’s only getting better. He has recorded three stellar albums (The Good Life, Midnight at the Movies and
Harlem River Blues) where he has shuffled across
sawdust covered dance floors, waded through lonely honky tonks and roamed dark,
forgotten city streets, all the while changing his style like a crazy country
music chameleon. In the process, he is
edging ever closer to the genius songwriting of his father, Steve Earle.
On Nothing’s Gonna Change the Way You Feel About Me Now, Justin is
nearly there. The young Mr. Earle
spreads his wings on Nothing’s and
uses the typical country approach of fiddle and lap steel sparingly. Instead,
he welcomes a nice horn section (a nod to the South’s jazz history and the
great Memphis Horns) and ambiance that makes the songs more powerful and lets
the listener know that this young man fully understands the music he creates.
The opening line of Nothing’s speaks volumes. On “Am
I That Lonely Tonight?” Earle says, “I
hear my father on the radio”: now, depending on how you take his vocal
delivery, he could be talking either about his actual father or about his
musical father, Bruce Springsteen. Like
Springsteen, Justin tells complex stories, builds characters, shows his
feelings and most importantly, embraces the things that have made him who he
is. He has had a well-documented wild
life; he’s known the hell of loss, alcoholism and drug abuse, and all of these
things show up in the rough edges of his voice and the strength of his
lyrics. Yet like most great songwriters,
his experiences provide inspiration in such gems as “Am I That Lonely Tonight?”, “Look the Other
Way” and the uptempo “Memphis in The Rain.” Earle has proven that he can embrace the
past, look forward to the future and find peace through his music.
Now, all I’m waiting for
is for him to record his Nebraska, then
he can complete his inevitable transformation into the next classic storyteller.
DOWNLOAD: “Memphis in the Rain” “Look The Other Way DANNY R. PHILLIPS