New Album: Justin Townes Earle – Harlem River Blues
by Kyle Mitchell, the editor and founder of Music Savage, lover of music, hater of remixes.
Justin Townes Earle’s follow up to his fantastic album Midnight at the Movies released this week on tuesday. The eponymous single from the new album, Harlem River Blues, first single was released to much fanfare back in early August. As with Earle’s other releases, it’s an exercise in alt/country and folk elements.
Earle’s voice rings true on what is an interesting concept for an album. He writes songs as though he’s the common man in rural Tennessee, but in reality he’s writing these tracks from the Big Apple. Does this make you question the album’s credibility? I’d personally say no. I see no reason to not enjoy the ironic nature of country songs about New York City. Much like Woody Guthrie before him, Justin Townes Earle’s narrative of a country boy in the big city; feelings of being displaced and lonesome.
For me, a couple of clear winners on the album are the songs that are country tropes such as the railroad song, Working for the MTA, and the traveler song, Wanderin.’ A highlight for me on the album is the humorous Move Over Mama, a song about the hardships of dating a traveling musician.
In all, Earle has done a great job creating a solid entry in his body of work, and might give him what he needs to step out of his fathers shadow, and show that he’s got the goods to write great songs.
Earle is touring Harlem River Blues
Sep 18 Reckless Records Chicago, Illinois
Sep 18 Lincoln Hall Chicago, Illinois
Sep 23 Midpoint Music Festival Cincinnati, OH
Sep 24 The Rumba Cafe Columbus, Ohio
Sep 25 Watermelon Park Festival Berryville, VA
Sep 29 The Casbah San Diego, CA
Sep 30 Autry Museum of The American West/Griffith Park Los Angeles, California
Oct 1 Rio Theatre Santa Cruz, CA
Oct 2 Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival San Francisco, California
Oct 4 The Depot Arcata, CA
Oct 6 The State Room Salt Lake City, UT
Oct 7 The Bluebird Theater Denver, CO
Oct 8 Slowdown Jr. Omaha, NE
Oct 9 First Avenue Minneapolis, MN
Oct 11 Turner Hall Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Oct 12 Six StringsBloomington, IL
Oct 14 Magic Stick Detroit, MI
Oct 15 The Horseshoe Tavern Toronto, ON, CANADA