Words by Veronica Silva
New York City — The well-suited Justin Townes Earle warmed the blood of this unsuspecting patron at Webster Hall on a cold Saturday with rather introspective analytical banter and pure Nashville bred musical genius. Upon a friend’s suggestion and one or two searches into whom and what Mr. Earle was all about, I decided I needed to experience this man live. He is, without a doubt, the most enchanting and perhaps most tortured musician I’ve seen in a very long time.
Early into his set, Earle declared he was a songwriter and as such is always working on new material. Mr. Earle failed to proclaim just how much of a rebel he is and true to form mentioned his stints in rehab as well as his genuine fondness of such evils as “liquor, cocaine, and pain pills”. He even got a little dirty and tickled my interest perhaps just a wee bit more as he causally mentioned his affinity for “young ladies and fried chicken”.
This son of country-rock musician Steve Earle, currently playing a street musician on the HBO acclaimed Treme, resonates so strongly with anyone who understands the greatness of the blues. Thankfully, there was plenty vinyl at the merch table as I just couldn’t help myself, the thought of this man’s sound throughout my apt is something I am more than willing to pay for.
Deep down Justin’s a good boy and praised his mama for “raising my wild ass”. Harlem River Blues is his third album, served to listeners as a storybook full of tales from the boroughs and brilliantly understated down-home charm. A starlit backdrop, violinist, and upright bassist proved to be just right for sharing the stage with Mr. Earle.
Earle seems to be keeping himself in line as there were plenty water bottles on hand. This particular show was actually a rescheduled date as Mr. Earle encountered some drama in Indianapolis and had subsequently put a temporary hold on his touring schedule.
My well developed fascination for the unparalleled charms of Southern men who know just how to take on us Northeast folk has been reinforced by Justin Townes Earle. I suggest you let him seduce you as well.
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