Justin Townes Earle: Absent Fathers

Single Mothers’ other half.

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The title of this swift companion piece to Single Mothers (a vinyl double album) surely digs at dad, country singer Steve Earle.

Justin’s wayward youth closely echoed Earle Snr’s, and though currently clean he still muses on pistol-whipping label execs.

Musically JTE is now much straighter Nashville than dad. His dissolute past fuels songs sung with weary intakes of breath and laced with steel guitars. ‘Call ya Mama and tell her that nothing’s changed,’ he orders, giving up on switching tracks.

Someone Will Pay finds him lingering in bars where ‘they take it out in the street’. The closing Looking For A Place To Land eyes the shaky hope that he’s found with his new wife. The basic country sounds frame a compelling singer./o:p

Nick Hasted

Nick Hasted writes about film, music, books and comics for Classic Rock, The Independent, Uncut, Jazzwise and The Arts Desk. He has published three books: The Dark Story of Eminem (2002), You Really Got Me: The Story of The Kinks (2011), and Jack White: How He Built An Empire From The Blues (2016).