July 4, 2012

i feel it pushing down on me / so please baby, just drive

I woke up this morning still glowing and reeling from last night. Justin Townes Earle captivated the Aladdin Theatre in Portland, the way I have a feeling he does every single time he brandishes that guitar and opens his mouth to sing. I see hundreds of shows, and this man sparkles with charisma of the real deal. I had a strong sense that I was watching greatness. I don’t say that lightly.

Justin is Steve Earle’s son, sure. Justin is named partly after his dad’s friend Townes Van Zandt, sure. Both musical legends swim in his blood, alongside all the bits of experience and struggle he’s accumulated. But there is a whole other kind of self-impelled magic that he owns and possesses that is solely his and, whoa — that is unmistakeable when you see him for yourself.

You should add him immediately to the very top of your “must-see live” list. Justin is a consummate storyteller, in the vein of the traveling salesman that rolls into your town with a twinkle in his eye and a smile that twitches with a deep, unseen pleasure that’s unfolding in his brain and he tells stories through his songs. He’s watching worlds that we can’t see. It’s riveting to watch his process from four feet away, as I did. As I said the last time I saw him, “I wouldn’t mess with him, but I’d believe him and let him buy me a drink so he could tell me a story.”

This is a song from his newest album, Nothing’s Gonna Change The Way You Feel About Me Now (out now on Bloodshot Records), and when he sang it last night by himself under those blue lights, it hung out there in the air and pressed down on me as one of the loveliest, saddest, most perfect songs I’ve heard in a very long time. It’s a simple song about a girl named Anna, and about that longing we’ve been trying to name and wrestle down for a long time. The way he weaves it is breathtaking and timeless — somehow completely young and entirely his own, and also belonging to the ages. Like all of his songs.

[last night's setlist]

1 Comment

  • Ah, you have impeccable taste! I totally fell in love with JTE when he opened for Wilco here in NZ two years ago and have seen him solo twice since then and grown more in awe each time. An amazing musician to watch play guitar and with gorgeous poetic lyrics, he’s up in my top three alongside Jeff Buckley and Tweedy!!

    kristan — July 5, 2012 @ 5:15 am

Comments RSS

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Subscribe to this tasty feed.
I tweet things. It's amazing.

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.

View all Interviews → View all Shows I've Seen →