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Justin Townes Earle - Single Mothers

  by Lisa Torem

published: 14 / 11 / 2014

Justin Townes Earle - Single Mothers
Label: Loose Music
Format: CD


Understated and lo-fi but evocative fifth album from Steve Earle’s son, Justin Townes Earle

'Worried Bout the Weather’ is a perfect starter for singer-songwriter Justin Townes Earle’s fifth album, the ten-song collection, ‘Single Mothers’. He starts out slowly and simply, using his expressive voice to punctuate the essence of the story. ‘Single Mothers’ speaks to the sacrifices made by the women who stay when the “absent father is long gone.” ‘My Baby Drives’ is a rockabilly retrospective about cocky youthfulness morphing into a joyous celebration of a shared existence. “I don’t care why she won’t let me drive,” Justin Townes Earle sings, a man smitten and secure enough to relinquish control—only fitting as he recently got married. ‘Today and a Lonely Night’ is tinged with sadness. This drifter complains, “Six weeks straight I’ve been staying up late.” It’s lonely, all right, and the ache bleeds through the simple vocals and accompaniment. ‘Picture in a Drawer’ is another tale of loss. “You know, there’s nothing tying me to this town now that she’s gone,” he laments to his caring mother. ‘Wanna Be A Stranger’ continues this theme. “Asked my baby if she loved me/She said, ‘Ask me later’” The deep emotion tugs. Earle’s mournful voice is a powerful tool. ‘White Gardenias’ has a translucent earthiness. Swathed in pedal steel and pristine images. ‘Time Shows Fools’ has a killer hook and a solid country foundation. ‘It’s Cold in This House’ has a barebones backing of single beats and the whining of pedal steel. This allows JTE’s story to bubble over with feeling. ‘Burning Pictures’ is an apt closer, an engaging rocker. “Aren’t you tired of starting fires and burning pictures?” he sings, first, purring with restraint and thereafter hissing with insidious impatience. ‘Single Mother’ is a live recording with Earle’s touring quartet. ‘Picture in a Drawer’ and ‘It’s Cold in This House’are simply Justin, on vocals and guitar and Paul Niehaus on pedal steel. This lo-fi production suits Earle well—the vocals are upfront and extremely natural. Adam Bednarik co-produced the album. This well-balanced recording boasts a smorgasbord of rhythms and a strong infusion of cleanly crafted themes.

Track Listing:-
1 Worried Bout the Weather
2 Single Mothers
3 My Baby Drives
4 Today and a Lonely Night
5 Picture In a Drawer
6 Wanna Be a Stranger
7 White Gardenias
8 Time Shows Fools
9 It's Cold In This House
10 Burning Pictures

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live reviews

Union Chapel, London, 6/2/2015
Justin Townes Earle - Union Chapel, London, 6/2/2015
Dan Cressey finds Justin Townes Earle, despite his mournful form of alt-country, to be surprisingly charming in an accomplished performance at the Union Chapel in London

digital downloads



Absent Fathers (2015)
Downbeat but impressive album from Nashville-based singer-songwriter, Justin Townes Earle

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