Thursday, February 4, 2010

Justin Townes Earle- The Good Life

Like his musical pedigree, the debut release by Justin Townes Earle is a mixed blessing. In Texas songwriting circles, having Steve Earle as a father--who gave him his middle name in commemoration of his creative hero Townes Van Zandt--is the sort of burden that a basketball-playing son of Michael Jordan might carry. Half of these cuts that sound like Lone Star roadhouse ready-mades, dimly remembered from some 1960s jukebox (though all Earle originals.) During this stretch of The Good Life, neither his voice nor his songwriting is strong enough to raise the results above the generic. Yet the folkier intimacy he displays on "Who Am I to Say" and "Turn Out the Lights" shows a singer-songwriter who can really get under the listener's skin when he isn't trying to sing over a band. Saving the best for last, he sounds a little like his dad on "Far Away In Another Town," but he also sounds like an artist coming into his own.


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