Justin Townes Earle

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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Photo By Joshua Black Wilkens

JTE is back with the follow up to 2017’s excellent, Kids In the Street, with The Saint of Lost Causes. As a long-time fan of Justin’s; I have to say I’m digging what he’s doing here. New album will see the light of day via the fine folks at New West Records on 5/24/19.

For The Saint of Lost Causes, Earle is focused on a different America – the disenfranchised and the downtrodden, the oppressed and the oppressors, the hopeful and the hopeless, as well as their geography. There’s the drugstore-cowboy-turned-cop-killer praying for forgiveness (“Appalachian Nightmare”) and the Michiganders persevering through economic and industrial devastation (“Flint City Shake It”); the stuck mother dreaming of a better life on the right side of the California tracks (“Over Alameda”) and the Cuban man in New York City weighed down by a world of regret (“Ahi Esta Mi Nina”); the “used up” soul desperate to get to New Orleans (“Ain’t Got No Money”) and the “sons of bitches” in West Virginia poisoning the land and sea (“Don’t Drink The Water”).

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa or @HearYa

JTE is here

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Photo Credit: Joshua Black Wilkens

Justin is an interesting guy to follow on social media. I’ve witnessed him fall off the wagon, bemoan the over-building in Nashville and celebrate the World Series title of his beloved Cubbies. Over the last year, it has been nice to hear him embracing married life, await the birth of his first child and make Kids In The Street.

Kids In The Street is his seventh album and first with new label, New West Records. It also happens to be the first time he’s recorded outside of Nashville with an outside producer, Mike Mogis. It also happens to be my favorite album by him since Midnight At The Movies.

“When I wrote songs in the past, I was looking in on what I was feeling, but this record’s more about looking outward on what’s happening, and writing about subjects like gentrification and inner city strife,” was the most interesting quote in the press release as the album is more observational in its scope.

The album opens with Champagne Corolla, a track celebrating the everyday cars that folks drive. Its buoyed by some tasty horns. He follows that track by taking a look at a time when life was simpler pre-gentrification on the title track. He also seems to dip into his wilder years for inspiration on Maybe A Moment, a track about talking a girl into a ride down to Memphis. And 15-25 is a New Orleans infused boogie that catalogues the list of transgressions of youth.

I’m loving this album more and more every day. When Justin is on top of his game, there are not many better out there. On Kids In The Street, he’s on top of his game.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa or @HearYa

JTE is here

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Photo Credit: Joshua Black Wilkens

JTE is back with his 7th LP, Kids In The Street and his first with New West Records. Fresh off his (and my) beloved Cubs winning the World Series, JTE is a positive state of mind. It might have something to do with his continuing sobriety, a solid marriage the impending arrival of his new baby. So while me may be happy with, if you follow him on Twitter, you’ll know he’s not digging what’s going on in East Nashville. From his PR Team.

Several of the songs on Kids On The Street reference the lower-middle-class Nashville neighborhoods of Earle’s youth, which in recent years some say have lost their character to the creeping scourge of gentrification. Significantly, the album is the first of Earle’s not recorded in Nashville. “It’s the first time that I’ve worked outside of my usual umbrella of people to make a record,” Earle explains, adding “In Nashville, if you have the right connections, it’ll spoil the shit out of you, because you’ve got access to the best musicians in the world and the best studios in the world. If you had told me when I started making records, that I wasn’t gonna make every record in Nashville, I would have told you you were crazy. And if you’d told me that I’d end up making a record in Omaha, I’d tell you you were out of your freaking mind.”

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa or @HearYa

JTE is here

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Justin Townes Earle – Single Mothers [album review]

September 8, 2014

Photo by Joshua Black Wilkins Justin Townes Earle has never been shy about sharing his opinion. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and hanging out with him a few times. While some can find him or his Twitter outbursts to be caustic; I’ve always found him to be charming. If you could levy any complaint […]

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Justin Townes Earle – Nothing’s Gonna Change The Way You Feel About Me Now [album review]

April 5, 2012

Justin Townes Earle is special artist for us at HearYa. He was one of our earliest visitors for the HearYa sessions, long before the videos starting taking shape. I had the pleasure of spending some time with Justin a few years back on a couple of occasions and always found him captivating. So with the […]

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Justin Townes Earles Wins Song of the Year

October 17, 2011

Justin Townes Earle took home song of the year at the 2011 Americana Music Awards for “Harlem River Blues.” It was a fitting end to what has been a long year back from an abyss filled with addictions, demons, rehab and redemption. I have met Justin a handful of times, including a Cubs game with […]

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Justin Townes Earle performs on Letterman with Jason Isbell and Paul Shaffer

January 13, 2011

In case you missed it (like me), check out JTE and Isbell taking the Letterman stage together with Paul Shaffer.  Safe to say they crushed it and hopefully we’ll see more Isbell/Earle collaborations in the future. I absolutely love watching Jason Isbell play the guitar. On Justin’s list of achievements, I’d say “Letterman Performance” probably […]

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Justin Townes Earle, Harlem River Blues, a canceled tour, and rehab. [Album Review]

September 29, 2010

For those that follow Justin Townes Earle, you probably recall that he was fired from his Dad’s band after developing some “bad habits.” He then found sobriety, his solo song craft, and put out two phenomenal country albums in The Good Life and Midnight At The Movies. We’re not ones to gossip and normally I’d […]

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Justin Townes Earle – Ghost of Virginia [Bootleggin’]

April 23, 2010

In a random encounter at our SxSW 2009 day party, I met a guy that obsessively records Americana/ Alt-country shows around Austin. I’m now on his email list and his tapings and downloads can be found here. This track was sent out today and it’s too good not to share on a Friday. Justin Townes […]

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