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Justin Townes Earle

Justin Townes Earle examines life as a New Yorker on Harlem River Blues.
Joshua Black Wilkins
Justin Townes Earle examines life as a New Yorker on Harlem River Blues.

Justin Townes Earle's third full-length outing, Harlem River Blues, sees the blues/country/soul singer incorporating new sounds and textures into his already formidable repertoire. Harlem is the sound of JTE getting used to the settled-down life, and incorporating new home base New York City as a character in his work. JTE brings in the elements of his last two albums, The Good Life and Midnight at the Movies, as the skeletal parts of Harlem, while adding gospel choruses and '50s pop to the mix. "Move Over Mama" and the title song would have been hits for Jerry Lee Lewis back in the day, but still contain the Earle family's trademark grit and grin. He still manages to throw a weeper onto the album, "Learning to Cry," which levels us with his sad-boy croon as usual. Be sure to come early to catch the opener, newcomer Caitlin Rose, who melds her velvety Carole King rasp onto Emmylou Harris-style ballads.

 
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