Justin Townes Earle
With this year's new LP, Nothing's Gonna Change the Way You Feel About Me Now, the Justin Townes Earle story just keeps getting more complex and captivating. While his 2008 debut The Good Life was a hopped-up, spare, Jimmie Rodgers-style acoustic romp, the subsequent Midnight at the Movies and Harlem River Blues saw the conflicted artist adding new colors and textures into his toolbox. There were grandiose Randy Newman splashes here and a few earthen Springsteen strokes there, all done with so much conviction that anyone second-guessing him found himself instead endeared to him. The family and internal dramas are still laid bare — he mentions Papa Steve within the first seconds of the new record — but he's finding interesting ways to intimate just what kind of rough waters he's traveled. This time around he's embraced the neo-soul sound that is so popular right about now, but he's not bastardizing it or throwing it on for show. We're still waiting on him to plug in an electric guitar and lay waste, but patience is a virtue.
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