It’s hard to imagine someone more loyal to their craft than Justin Townes Earle. Born in Nashville, son of country-rock icon Steve Earle and given his middle name in honour of Townes Van Zandt, Justin is an accomplished songwriter and performer.
With a natural talent for deeply revealing lyrics, and his own often-harsh life experiences as fodder for songwriting, Justin’s musical approach integrates blues, folk and country.
He’s released seven albums since his debut in 2007 and his most recent ‘Kids in the Street’ reached #3 on the USA Indie charts and #6 on the Folk charts, which demonstrates the versatility of the genre-fluid music Justin makes.
He’s played in both rock and ragtime/bluegrass bands and spent time on guitar and keys for his father’s touring band the Dukes. He’s been co-billed with Gillian Welch and David Rawlings as well as Old Crow Medicine Show and The Felice Brothers and he’s Americana Music Award for new and emerging artist of the year as well as song of the year for ‘Harlem River Blues’ in 2011.
There’s no question this guitar-slinger is one of Americana music’s leading lights. And all that experience – good and bad – has helped the young veteran built a rich and personally charged body of work.
“Life has changed a lot for me in the last few years,” Justin reflected. “I got married and am getting ready to become a father, and this is the first record that I’ve written since I’ve been married. There’s definitely an uplifting aspect to this record in a lot of ways, because I’m feeling pretty positive.”
“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,” he said, adding that he’s written about subjects like gentrification and inner city strife. There’s a soul influence as well, and he says it’s got a deeper connection to the blues than anything he’s done before.
Now embracing marriage, sobriety and fatherhood, Justin Townes Earle is enthusiastically looking to the future.
“I can’t say if I’m getting better, but I’m definitely evolving as a songwriter,” he said.
This is Justin’s ninth Australian tour and a rare chance to see the master songwriter and performer, solo and acoustic and in intimate seated mode.
Justin Townes Earle + Paddy McHugh are at Soundlounge on Thursday 19 July. Tickets via soundlounge.com.au.