Justin Townes Earle: Absent Fathers

earle

Justin is the son of the legendary Steve. The first time we heard Earle’s debut, Guitar Town we realised he was a major talent, but the son bares his talent more subtly. This is not his first album, but it is the first we’ve heard and the title suggests he’s wringing material from his troubled childhood — Steve Earle is larger than life, suffering various addiction problems and with seven marriages behind him, including marrying the same woman twice. If Earle snr comes over as something as a force of nature, the son is more studious and we’re not quite sure what to make of him. The songs are more gentle than those of his father and while Steve sang on his debut about My Old Friend The Blues, Justin’s saying Least I Got The Blues. He’s had his own demons of drink and drugs, though and in fact was kicked out of his dad’s band — rather like Lemmy being kicked out of Hawkwind for taking the wrong drugs, we’d have thought.
Musically it’s a delicate album that requires some listening, as he sings about abandonment and recovery and the sleeve — showing him peering rather hopefully out of the darkness (though as the woman is smiling and present in the photo, perhaps he’s just creating the image of a father who is mentally absent) — suggest he still has a gloomy frame of mind. It’s apparently about the search for an anchor in one’s life. It’s more old-style country than his old man’s rock country.

About jerobear

Weekly newspaper editor in Cheshire, England. I blog my editorials and the CDs I write about. I play drums, drink coffee, play music, meditate. I hate filling in forms.

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