While we’re on this Americana kick, I figured I’d write about Justin Townes Earle. He’s the son of the legendary Steve Earle and he certainly lives up to his old mans legacy. Now if you don’t know Steve Earle go check him out now, because he’s been turning out raw country albums, that are actually good, since the mid 80’s.
In an age where popular country music is some of the most generic, bland shit imaginable Harlem River Blues is a breath of fresh air. I don’t want to carry on too much about the state of country music since we already went over it a few weeks ago…. but I’m going to anyways. For the past 20 years or so country has been devolving into a sad, pathetic shadow of it’s former glory. Don’t get me wrong there’s definitely people out there still playing good country but you rarely hear about them. When a group comes out that actually does play real bona fide country they generally get labeled ‘alt-country’.… and I have to problem with that moniker but we’ve gotten to a point where the ‘alternative‘ is often more authentic than what is considered ‘real‘ country.
Anyways, Harlem River Blues is a rock solid album all the way through. The instrumentation is lush at some points and sparse at others but always spot on. Also most of the tracks feature the electric guitar stylings of Jason Isbell, formerly of Drive By-Truckers and an established troubadour in his own right. I don’t want to sound like I’m making wild predictions here but I think this album will end up being regarded as one of the finest, if underrated, of it’s era. So, I’m sorry if I offended you with all the country bashing… but I get it sometimes we all just want to Feel Like a Woman.
Beer… a cheap one