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And this is only his third....,
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This review is from: Harlem River Blues (Audio CD)
This is even better than what I've come to expect from Justin Townes Earle. The album is, as other reviewers have noted, just about perfect. Each time you listen, you'll hear not just Justin's voice, his unique lyrics and sound, but all the delicious allusions as well--it's hard, for instance, not to hear Johnny Cash in Justin's unusual delivery of "I'm learning to cry", not to hear his swift bow to Sam Cooke, the early classic blues laments, and all the gestures to--but not imitations of--the greats floating up in the songs. And Justin Townes Earle is obviously great. The title track--that glorious, uplifting song about suicide!--might just make you cry with its heraldry of joy: "If you see me walkin' up the FDR just a'singin' and a'clappin' my hands, tell my mother I loved her, tell my father I tried,give my money to my baby.." and on. The hollering gospel reprise on track 11 is another spiritual joy--try reversing the tracks too, experiencing this early gospel sound transitioning into Justin's single voice on track 1. Often, this musician's own happiness in making music--sometimes he might even be laughing--is communicable. My only frustration with Justin Townes Earle's albums is that sometimes his lyrics are not discernible, and with lyrics this intelligent, this emotional, this funny, lost lines are a shame. I'm still trying to make out key lines on MIDNIGHT AT THE MOVIES, and am having the same difficulty with several essential lyrics on this album. Oh: f you haven't seen him perform live, go. He'll make you feel great pretty damn good about being alive.