Being the son of a legendary singer/song writer sets the bar pretty high for a young musician. Nashville native Justin Townes Earle has far surpassed the bar with his 2008 release of “The Good Life”. Son of legendary country songwriter Steve Earle, Justin grew up in Nashville alongside some of country music’s greats, including Townes Van Zandt, Guy Clark, Steve Young, his father and many others. Growing up around such inspiring musicians undeniably impacted his style and persona as a musician.On the “The Good Life,” Earle brilliantly meshes elements of blues, folk and classic country. With war ballads such as “Lone Pine Hill,” Earle takes you back to the Civil War, recalling the loneliness of a young soldier. “Ain’t Glad I’m leavin'” has that old time country sound with smooth peddle steel guitar and lazy piano, accompanied by distant folk harmonies.
In “What Do You Do When You’re Lonesome,” Earle sings about the burden of isolation. With that lonesome Hank Williams feel, mandolin, violin, peddle steel and piano all cooperate marvelously on this track.
On the title track “The Good Life,” Earle’s influences speak loud and clear. With that Appalachian folk sound reminiscent of an old Roy Acuff tune, Earle takes you back to the beginning of country music.
“Turn Out My Lights” takes on a folksier feel, with soft guitar and delicate harmonica, reminiscing about lost love, moving on and growing up. On “Lonesome and You,” Earle channels the method of country rock great Gram Parsons with a real honky-tonk sound.
Earle’s songwriting abilities shine throughout this album from beginning to end. It’s no surprise that the influence of the late great Townes Van Zandt had a significant impact on Earle growing up. Not only was he named after his father’s hero, but now he continues on with brilliant song writing and that old heart-worn Nashville spirit.
Next month, Justin Townes Earle is playing on the 13, 14 and 15 at The Basement in Nashville. The Basement is located at 1604 8th Ave S., below Grimey’s New and Preloved Music. For more information on tickets, contact The Basement box office or visit www.ticketmaster.com.