When you are Justin Townes Earle and you are the son of the famous musician Steve Earle, the bonus of name recognition soon gives way to overt scrutiny. And once in the public eye, if you are the son of a famous artist and you get strung out, it is hard to turn that image juggernaut around. If you clean yourself up, get married and stay positive, which happened to the younger Earle recently, there will always be crabs in the barrel there to remind you of your past.
While Earle (like his father) has bounced back from hard times, he is still, refreshingly, a realist when it comes to his truth-is-more-fucked-up-than-fiction tales of the human condition that is the basis of his songwriting. He keeps to his low-down, rootsy style and his fans appreciate the sonic grit.
Earle is currently touring behind the release of two new albums, last September’s Single Mothers and January’s Absent Fathers. He didn’t plan to release the albums that way, but he found himself in record label difficulties and had to catch up after a two-year absence.
Now, Earle is back and rockin’, saying in a recent interview with The Baltimore Sun about some of his new songs, “It felt good to not lose the dark side of life, but be able to remove myself a bit from it.”
JUSTIN TOWNES EARLE plays at Southgate House Revival Tuesday, March 10. Find tickets/more info here.