The offspring of the always-impressive Steve Earle, Justin Townes Earle sure did get reflective on his last album, Kids In The Streets, but here the new father, who is approaching the age of 40, tells stories through the lens of America with his always rich and thoughtful creativity.
The title track starts the album dark and cryptic, where Earle seems like he’s narrating a late-night adventure as the music remains spirited and haunting, and “Ain’ Got No Money” follows with an upbeat roots and honky-tonk rocker where harmonicas and lively percussion punctuate the tune. Elsewhere, Earle tips his hat to Nashville with the punchy country spirit of Frightened By The Sound,” where parallels to his father’s greatness are easily detectable.
The second half of the listen offers one of the prettiest tunes, the shimmering Americana of “Over Alameda” where warm melodies simmer over aching pedal steel, the sparse, folky blues of “Appalachian Nightmare” and the ultra-soulful southern sounds of “Say Baby.” The cautious listen exits on “Talking To Myself,” where Earle recruits everything we love about his craft—rustic melody, husky vocals, and universal stories surrounding the human experience.
Earle has never hid his demons from the public, but he seems to be at a very comfortable place in his life right now, and his music is hitting a career high as his intricate guitar work and relatable, insightful prose make this an integral part of his glowing catalog.