Justin Townes Earle – The Saint of Lost Causes (album review)

by Woody on May 23, 2019

Photo By Joshua Black Wilkens

When you are a fan of an artist for a long period of time; consisting of multiple albums; it is natural to have you favorites and albums that you never play. Most people favor the early albums; back when the love was fresh and exciting.

Justin Townes Earle is one of those artists for me. While I really liked his album, Kids In The Street, I almost always find myself reaching for the older stuff. But I’m here to say that The Saint of Lost Causes is among his best work; his voice never sounding better. For his eighth album, Justin turned his gaze out – toward the state of America. Like the excellent, The Seduction of Kansas by Priests, JTE isn’t hitting you over the head with his rage. His imagery is pointed, yet subtle enough to requiring the listener to really listen.

Over the course of a dozen tracks, JTE paints little stories of Americans that are getting left behind in this current shitstorm. He isn’t shy in pointing out his targets. Flint City Shake It, a tune who’s boogie belies the serious subject of our gov’t letting down the people in Flint. Don’t Drink the Water is a bluesy number getting after the “sons of bitches” ruining the land and water in West Virginia. There’s the haunting Appalachian Nightmare about a drugstore cowboy looking for redemption after murdering a cop. It’s a powerful tune; digging so much deeper than the horrible outcome of a dead policeman.

Releasing such an outward looking album after the deeply personal and inward looking Kids In The Street was a nice touch. And he absolutely nailed it.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa or @HearYa

JTE is here

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