12 Songs, 32 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

It’s easy to overemphasize Justin Townes Earle’s pedigree — when you’re the son of Steve Earle (as well as the namesake of Townes Van Zandt), expectations are naturally high. But Justin doesn’t live up to his heritage so much as transcend it on his sophomore album Midnight At the Movies. His approach to the singer/songwriter’s craft avoids the bravura flourishes of the elder Earle in favor of something more nuanced and restrained. The furtive love scenarios in “Here We Go Again,” “Someday I’ll Be Forgiven for This,” and the title track betray a delicate touch that draws tears and blood. Earle dashes off folk-rooted balladry (“They Killed John Henry”), ‘30s-style string band ditties (“What I Mean to You”) and classic barstool country (“Poor Fool”) with deceptive nonchalance. His voice shifts from a parched rasp to a mellifluent croon without losing focus, and as a lyricist he distills poetry out of bleak character sketches (“Black Eyed Suzy”) and painful family portraits (“Mama’s Eyes”). This short, bittersweet album testifies to Earle’s ability to stand upon his talent, not just his family name.

EDITORS’ NOTES

It’s easy to overemphasize Justin Townes Earle’s pedigree — when you’re the son of Steve Earle (as well as the namesake of Townes Van Zandt), expectations are naturally high. But Justin doesn’t live up to his heritage so much as transcend it on his sophomore album Midnight At the Movies. His approach to the singer/songwriter’s craft avoids the bravura flourishes of the elder Earle in favor of something more nuanced and restrained. The furtive love scenarios in “Here We Go Again,” “Someday I’ll Be Forgiven for This,” and the title track betray a delicate touch that draws tears and blood. Earle dashes off folk-rooted balladry (“They Killed John Henry”), ‘30s-style string band ditties (“What I Mean to You”) and classic barstool country (“Poor Fool”) with deceptive nonchalance. His voice shifts from a parched rasp to a mellifluent croon without losing focus, and as a lyricist he distills poetry out of bleak character sketches (“Black Eyed Suzy”) and painful family portraits (“Mama’s Eyes”). This short, bittersweet album testifies to Earle’s ability to stand upon his talent, not just his family name.

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Ratings and Reviews

4.6 out of 5
85 Ratings

85 Ratings

Southlake ,

Superb

I fly alot. I usually wear my JTE t-shirt and I always have people come up and say they are a fan too. There is a great following out there and it is building. This Cd will keep it happening for sure. "Someday I'll be Forgiven For This" is pure heart. "Halfway to Jackson" has the best harp I've heard in a long long time. "Black Eyed Suzy" is excellent banjo. Lyrics are killer. I'm going to need a new t-shirt. Keep it going JTE and Bloodshot.

Farce the Music ,

Block off the old block

Not a chip. In fact, JT's current work is miles more interesting than his dad's current work. Touches of ragtime, trad country, folk and alt-country give this album a real personality. It's not perfect, but this guy's good. I expect some greatness from him and this is close. The Mats cover is a real joy, but the centerpiece is track 10, a tear in your whiskey weeper fit for the Possum himself. This is better than his debut, but not as good as what's to come....

Ragweed Rock N' Roller ,

Well worth the money

Gotta love this guy -- part of the cadre of serious singer-songwriters that are finally getting paid some attention. Whether you are a serious, discerning consumer of music or just a casual listener, Justin Townes is like a really great beer-- the layman will appreciate it as much as the connoisseur. This album demonstrates a maturation and an evolution that marks a really great artist. Earle is not retreading the same ground with this album, but turning out new and equally compelling material. Enjoy!

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