Now that we've gotten this little blog rolling, I've got ideas galore and this is another weekly column I'm going to be starting. Every week, I'll be profiling an artist whom I've been listening to a lot of. My hope is that this column will introduce you to some great new artists or perhaps remind you of an artist you've let slip under the radar. Either way, I hope you enjoy and would love to hear your thoughts on these artists!
I've been on a big time folk kick lately and started looking for new artists to get into. On my adventures through the internet I stumbled upon Justin Townes Earle and was immediately hooked. The first thing that drew me to Earle was his persona; he's tatted all up and down his arms and his swagger oozes James Dean. This outlaw persona undoubtedly comes from a history of drug addiction and as recently as 2010 he was arrested for assault and public drunkenness. But don't be fooled, Earle is not just an image, his music is damn good. His sound is heavily influenced by his upbringing in Nashville, Tennessee. Earle's sound is your typical folk music but with a healthy serving of both country and bluegrass mixed in.
He released his first EP, Yuma, in 2007 and has been nothing short of prolific since. He released his first full length, The Good Life, the next year and his work just keeps getting better. His strongest album from start to finish, 2009's Midnight at the Movies is a great place to start if you're trying to get into Earle. The album is his most poppy effort but never loses sight of his folk roots. Not to mention, it features a phenomenal cover of The Replacements' "Can't Hardly Wait". After the break you can listen to some his tunes and check out some tour dates.
Here is Earle performing "They Killed John Henry" off of Midnight at the Movies.
And here is a video of Earle and his backing band performing the title track off of his most recent album, Harlem River Blues, on Letterman.
I'll be catching him live this Thursday at the Prospect Park Bandshell where he'll be performing for the price of "for free"! If you're in the NYC area come out and show your support. If you're not near NYC, never fear because JTE will be playing shows all summer long in addition to a host of folk festivals. Here are the dates:
7/15/2011-7/16/2011: Vancouver, Canada Vancouver Folk Music Festival
7/20/2011: Milton Keynes, UK. The Stables
7/22/2011: Perth, UK. Southern Fried Festival
7/23/2011: Gateshead. UK Summertyne Americana Festival (Jumpin' Hot Stage)
7/24/2011: Oxon, UK. Truck Festival
7/26/2011: York, UK. The Duchess
7/27/2011: Sheffield, UK. The Greystones
7/29/2011: Cambridge, UK. Cambridge Folk Festival
7/31/2011: Newport, RI. Newport Folk Festival
8/6/2011: Apple Valley, MN. Minnesota Zoo Amphitheater
8/11/2011: Birmingham, AL. Sirote Theatre at Alys Stephens Center
8/12/2011: Mobile, AL. Saenger Theater
8/18/2011: Pittsburgh, PA. Mr. Small Theatre
8/19/2011: Schwenksville, PA. The Philadelphia Folk Festival
8/20/2011: Alexandria, VA. The Birchmere
8/22/2011: Northhampton, MA. The Iron Horse
8/23/2011: Portland, ME. Port City Music Hall
8/25/2011: Ottawa, Canada. Ottawa Folk Festival
8/26/2011: Toronto, Canada. Horseshoe Tavern
8/27/2011: Detroit, MI. The Magic Stick
8/29/2011: Columbus, OH. The Rumba Cafe
8/30/2011: Louisville, TN. Headliners
9/16/2011-9/18/2011: Bristol, TN/VA. Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion Festival