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justin-townes-earle-single-mothersReleased: September 2014

Within seconds of Worried Bout The Weather, which one would think is such a British title that some kind of typically English elegy lamenting on the state of a drizzly Monday was sure to follow, it is clear that this is only half right. Melancholic this is, British it ain’t.

Single Mothers is a soulful, introspective slice of Americana country blues. The opening song sounds like it was brought up on a healthy dose of early Johnny Cash, Louvin Brothers and Waylon Jennings, and wouldn’t be out of place on any old time 1950s film from middle of nowhere Texas.

But it’s not all nostalgia. The title track could be a Joe Bonamassa hit if he had got to it first, a modern bluesy refrain nicely wrapped in an authenticity, before the rollicking My Baby Drives emulates Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Allman Brothers.

It is clear that Justin Townes Earle gained a healthy record collection of country and blues, but far from being a rehash of old time numbers, it has a sly nod to the classics but very much an identity of its own.

Given that country has had a kick up the backside on this side of the Atlantic, with the likes of Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley having struck it big over here, there is definitely a market for this album. Sadly, or perhaps thankfully, Justin probably won’t achieve that same level of success, but perhaps that is for the best, because we wouldn’t want him to lose his troubadour outlaw sheen that is so perfectly on display on Single Mothers.

The songs are short, full of beautiful slide guitar and heartworn lyrics, so charmingly self-assured you can’t help but feel for the guy. It will no doubt appeal to classic country fans more than kids looking for the next big thing, but what Justin is doing should be taken note of. It’s vintage music with modern production, and I for one lap up every single second of it. A true revelation.

★★★★

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