May 27, 2009

Justin Townes Earle can’t hardly wait


Man, something about these warm summery weeks, or maybe an aural hangover from my driving journey through West Texas, but lately all kinds of down-home music is grabbing me. Something about the authenticity of a good campfire sad song, or a mandolin + fiddle. I mean, sure I’m still going to dance my ass off at Ghostland Observatory this Saturday, but for today, this is hitting the right notes:

Justin Townes Earle (whose name I just learned how to pronounce correctly, because I am retarded) is Steve Earle’s son and a proper heir to that surname. Named partly after Dad’s friend Townes Van Zandt, 27-year-old Justin infuses his brand of Americana with a vibrant, organic streak of youth.

He does a surprisingly great cover of The Replacements’ 1987 classic “Can’t Hardly Wait.” It amazes me how this song is from an album typically thought of as all sloppy punk, but has these sterling country-road roots that Justin brings out so well. Justin’s also got strong strokes of that same off-kilter howl that Westerberg trademarked. Hearing this has made me smile.

Can’t Hardly Wait (Replacements cover, live 9/28/08) – Justin Townes Earle

I’ll write you a letter tomorrow
Tonight I can’t hold a pen
Someone’s got a stamp that I can borrow
I promise not to blow the address again

Lights that flash in the evening, through a crack in the drapes

Jesus rides beside me
He never buys any smokes
Hurry up, hurry up, ain’t you had enough of this stuff
Ashtray floors, dirty clothes, and filthy jokes

See you’re high and lonesome, try and try and try

Lights that flash in the evening,
Through a hole in the drapes
I’ll be home when I’m sleeping
I can’t hardly wait

Can’t Hardly Wait – The Replacements

Listen to the rest of this show over on the Live Music Archive, for a fine sampling of Justin’s original songs interspersed with classic covers of Woody Guthrie, Mississippi John Hurt, dad Steve Earle, Blind Blake, Townes Van Zandt, and Lightnin’ Hopkins.

album_main_bs160JTE’s Midnight At The Movies is out now on Bloodshot Records, and he’s massively on tour this summer.

Also — check out the recent Aquarium Drunkard feature of Justin Townes Earle and Jason Isbell (of the Drive-By Truckers) interviewing each other. Nice.


  • That’s crazy! I wrote about the Mats version of this song the other day and was bumping it on Memorial Day. Thanks for this version.

    Neil — May 27, 2009 @ 2:08 pm

  • Great album indeed, Heather. I’ve got quite a thing for his pops too…
    I gotta know though – how were you pronouncing his name?

    Pete — May 27, 2009 @ 9:28 pm

  • Ummmmm……”Early?” (wince)

    browneheather — May 28, 2009 @ 6:12 am

  • One of my favorite albums of the year so far. I always get a little dust in my eye on “Mama’s Eyes.”

    Oz — May 28, 2009 @ 10:43 pm

  • He opened up for Old Crow Medicine Show here in Dallas earlier this month and it was the first time I had heard him. Needless to say, I was blown away. He pouts on a great show. I love how he seems to embrace the roots of country music.

    Lance — May 28, 2009 @ 10:45 pm

  • JTE did an in-store at The Electric Fetus in Minneapolis last month, and it was amazing. As good as he sounds in the studio with multiple takes and a stellar backing cast, he’s that much better as an ad hoc duo! He played a set with Cory Younts – mandolin, banjo, harmonica, harmony vocals – and the two held the floor and cast a spell over the couple dozen of us lucky enough to be there. He played “Can’t Hardly Wait”, which is pretty ballsy in the home of the ‘Mats, but it’s a stellar cover! I’m sure Westerberg is pleased. If you like the current album, check out his previous – “The Good Life”. Here’s a link to “Halfway to Jackson” from that in-store:

    jimbo — May 29, 2009 @ 1:13 pm

  • I don’t know if this has already been mentioned here somewhere, but Justin Townes Earle did a Daytrotter session almost a year ago and it features among other songs a great version of this one.

    Tyler — May 30, 2009 @ 3:16 am

  • Surprising even myself, I was angered by your characterization of PLEASED TO MEET ME as “sloppy punk”. If you listen to previous and subsequent Westerberg stuff, his love of music in its many forms is pretty clear. I saw Paul Westerberg sing this song by himself in Brooklyn one time – that version would have sent this one crying back to its mommy.

    I wish well-intentioned people would stop romanticizing and ghetto-izing the Replacements as drunken idiots who miraculously created some of the best, most hearfelt music ever. It would make it easier to appreciate what the individual members have done since the breakup. Everyone knows they were great, but they were actually better than that.

    Patrick — May 31, 2009 @ 9:50 am

  • Patrick, a nice quote from JTE on this:
    “The Replacements were a lot more than just a punk band,” Earle explained. “They were one of those bands…they had the punk sound and attitude early on, but what separated them was you could really hear the roots of American music in them. And they were great songs. Great songs can be played anyway that you want to. They should be able to be done in any fashion.”
    – from

    browneheather — June 1, 2009 @ 9:21 am

  • Wow. Now, I have to go buy his album. I am not usually much for progeny rock, but (thanks to you and his dad) I will give him a try.

    Also, thanks for reading and responding to me. I just went from a dedicated reader of your blog to a big fan.

    Take care,

    Patrick Cassidy

    Patrick — June 2, 2009 @ 12:51 pm

  • I love this album. It took me a while to give him a real listen, because I didn’t expect him to be doing much of anything notable. However, I’m completely hooked on everything he’s done up until this point, and can’t wait to hear what he’s got coming out next.

    Jeff — July 1, 2009 @ 8:53 pm

  • I don’t know If I said it already but …This blog rocks! I gotta say, that I read a lot of blogs on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say I’m glad I found your blog. Thanks, :)

    A definite great read….

    BloggerDude — October 8, 2009 @ 5:24 pm

  • Ho take from me a little pussycat ? see video

    sandrastoun — October 13, 2011 @ 3:06 pm

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Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

Mp3s are for sampling purposes, kinda like when they give you the cheese cube at Costco, knowing that you'll often go home with having bought the whole 7 lb. spiced Brie log. They are left up for a limited time. If you LIKE the music, go and support these artists, buy their schwag, go to their concerts, purchase their CDs/records and tell all your friends. Rock on.

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