Inspired by a man walking out of the post office here in Nashville, I knew I could not let this article go unwritten! This man represents what my friends and I want to be: a successful singer-songwriter whose roots are in country, folk, Americana and blues. So naturally, when I set eyes on him my body froze in its place, only to release my moments after he had left the scene. I leaned over to a friend of mine and whispered, “That was Justin Townes Earle!”
Son to musician Steve Earle, and named after his father’s mentor Townes van Zandt, Justin grew up in South Nashville becoming hooked on drugs by the young age of 12. He played in a couple different blues and rock bands in his teens and even played guitar and keyboard for his father’s band the Dukes. However, his hard drug use led to his firing. Since then he has come off hard drugs and is focusing more on his music, heavily touring these past few years at places like South by Southwest, Grand Ole Opry, Bonnaroo, and Newport Folk Festival.
If you own the tribute album Rave On Buddy Holly, an album I also wrote on, you’ll recognize him from his cover of “Maybe Baby.” He even produced Wanda Jackson’s studio album Unfinished Business. Justin currently has five albums released between 2007 and 2012. His latest album, Nothing’s Gonna Change the Way You Feel About Me Now, is much more soulful than it is rockabilly like some of his earlier works. It fashions piano, violin, horns, and female vocals to give a fresh sound to his fifth album. His most popular song from this album is called “Look The Other Way.”
This album is something you could easily dance to with its bluesy rhythms and smooth instrumental interludes. I’d also suggest listening to songs like “Ain’t Waitin’” and “One More Night In Brooklyn” from his album Harlem River Blues. Much of his music is focused on love. Even when it comes to his album covers, he has made sure to include a woman on the cover of each album! Being an avid Justin Townes Earle listener, I pride myself on being able to tell someone else about his music and hope you enjoy it just as much as I do.