Musical Elective of the Month

November 14, 2009 | Blog

The Musical Elective of the Month is Justin Townes Earle.

His music encompasses blues, country, folk, and acoustic rock and he sometimes appears to be channeling a young Hank Williams or Woody Guthrie. He was named New & Emerging Artist of the Year at the 2009 Americana Music Festival.

Yes, the name Earle may sound familiar — and for good reason. Justin is the son of Steve Earle.

From his record label’s web site, one learns this: “With inspirations as diverse as Townes Van Zandt (he was named in honor of the elder Earle’s hero), Jimmy Reed, Kurt Cobain, The Replacements, Ray Charles and The Pogues, Justin forged his own brand of American roots music. Going through life with a namesake of Van Zandt’s stature cannot be easy for a young songwriter, but Earle takes it in stride,” saying, “Anyone who tries to live up to Van Zandt is a fool. I’m honored to carry the name, but if I spent my life trying to live up to it, I’d have a pretty miserable life.”

PopMatters.com has this to say: “Justin Townes Earle is living proof that despite the freak show that is modern day Nashville, there are still artists out there who revere the deep roots of the American musical tradition while still pushing the boundaries to create something new and wonderful.”

Justin Townes Earle has put out an album in each of the last three years, the latest 2009’s Midnight At the Movies. It features a stellar cover of The Replacements’ “Can’t Hardly Wait,” the old school “What I Mean To You,” the honky tonk “Poor Fool,” and a rebuke of his dad in the biting “Mama’s Eyes.”

And, shit, if music ain’t your thing (why are you reading this?), Justin was recently named a ‘Style Star’ by GQ. “As a Southern man, there are two things I’m not afraid of: bow ties and white pants,” he says.

For more, check out his web site. He’s touring all over the country in the coming months, so go check him out on tour, too. We saw him in Madison, Wisconsin back in June. And he made quite an impression.

For past Musical Electives, please click here.

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