Justin Townes Earle’s got the blues. A serious undercurrent of unhappy thoughts courses through Nothing’s Gonna Change, the fourth full-length from the talented Nashville musician. In the place of gospel or rockabilly seasoning, Earle goes to the sound of Memphis soul, with horns, unhurried arrangements, and a voice that often sounds like he’s just taken a gut hit. There are signs that perhaps his struggle to stay outside the hard-partying life has taken a backseat. Lyrics like “I tell her I’ve been getting sick again/we both pretend we don’t know why” suggest he’s not too happy with his current state. On the chillingly beautiful “Unfortunately, Anna,” his frustration and despair is palpable: “I’m feeling low and downright mean,” he breathlessly snarls as a steel guitar exhales in the background. The music ranges from the kind of quiet introspection fans of Nick Lowe will appreciate (“Am I That Lonely Tonight?,” “Won’t Be the Last Time”) to a pop-country blend that recalls Lyle Lovett (“Maria,” “Memphis in the Rain”) and a scattering of horn-inflected barroom shuffles (“Baby’s Got a Bad Idea,” “Look the Other Way”).
Am I That Lonely Tonight?
Look the Other Way
Nothing's Gonna Change the Way You Feel About Me Now