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Midnight at the Movies

4.7 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

2009 sophomore album from Justin Townes Earle, son of Americana favorite Steve Earle. Within the first song on Midnight At the Movies, you just know you're hearing something special, that you are party to the unknown and exhilarating paths being explored by an artist on the creative ascendancy. Midnight At The Movies displays an adeptness and musical sophistication of remarkable, organic breadth and is as lyrically sharp as a lover's tongue as she is walking out the door. Midnight at the Movies is held firm by Justin's astonishing vision and conviction, yet roams o'er the vast landscape of American music without so much as a stumble.

Review

4 stars. --Rolling Stones

Throughout, Earle once again reveals his knack for telling details and vibrant wordplay, and he continues to show that acoustic music can be spirited and celebratory as well as introspective and blue [and he] works like a good movie director. No matter the story he's telling, or the musical dialogue he adopts, it's the authority of his distinctive voice as a songwriter and a singer that makes the tale resonate. --Nashville Sound

An utterly distinctive voice that takes what's come before and artfully moves it forward. --L.A. Times

The striking thing about [the] new record is the variety of styles it visits in just over 30 minutes. Just as striking, this variety doesn't come across as dabbling or disparity. --Boston Globe

Earle is a storyteller above all else, and Midnight at the Movies is deliciously specific. --eMusic.com
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 3, 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Bloodshot Records
  • ASIN: B001P5Q6KC
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #113,223 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By S. Brown on March 7, 2009
Format: Audio CD
This is a great follow up to The Good Life. I saw JTE at the Birchmere in VA a couple days after this album came out and was able to get it on vinyl. He put on a great show. There were very few people at the show, but then not many people know about him yet. I had a chance to talk to him after the show and he's a very down to earth guy that seems to really enjoy what he's doing. He does sound a lot like his dad and writes a lot like his name sake Townes Van Zant, but he can certainly stand on his own. Even without his famous connections, I'd still be a big fan. To me this is just good music, nothing pretentious at all. In fact JTE reminds me of a modern Hank Williams. I can't wait for the next album and the next live performance.
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Justin Townes Earle has, once again, proven he's one of the few with substance. I've only listened to the album a couple of times, but I just saw him last night at The Mercury Lounge (the day the CD came out!), and it's clear that it's going to be hard to pick a favorite off of this album.

I can't recommend this enough if you like traditional country or folk music. Just fantastic.

UPDATE: I've been listening to this album since it came out -- every day, almost all day long. So, I'm giving this 5 out of 5 stars. I love this album. This album has no song you skip over to get to the better one(s). Every track is just great. Hot damn, I can't wait for more from this artist. Jaysus I'm excited about music again!
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Format: Audio CD
Having loved JTE's first album, "The Good Life," I got this one right away. This is another great album from this up and coming artist. He has a unique voice which walks the tight-rope between country and singer-songwriter. This album probably leans a little more towards the latter, but there are still several tracks that are flat out old-time country honk. The music has a very organic feel to it, which is refreshing. The instrumentation and production is very simplistic and gives the album a timeless quality that makes it sound equally as likely to be from 2009 or 1969. I agree with the previous reviewer - definitely see JTE in concert, he is amazing!
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Botth Steve and his son are wonderful. But these days I'm more excited about a new Justin Townes Earle release than I am about his dad's. And that's saying something. Justin changes up his song styles and moods wonderfully.
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I bought this album because I already had another of Earle's albums, Harlem River Blues, and I really liked it. This album is good, but I don't like it as much as I like the other one. I find some of the songs a bit dull, including the title song. I do really like "They Killed John Henry," and "Black Eyed Suzy," though.

Follow-up note, Dec. 2012: The album has grown on me over time - I like it better now than I did originally.
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From the title track, Earle establishes a world of malaise and monotony, where people struggle for momentary connections they'll never keep. Continuing through songs like "What I Mean to You," "Black Eyed Suzy," and "Someday I'll Be Forgiven For This," his worldview stings of lost hope and alienation. He presents a countrified Goth vision of a world where hope is a cruel illusion and the future is a vapor.

But Earle is more than countrified. His ragtime rhythms, Dock Boggs-style instrumentation, and loping vocal style recall earlier forms of folk music. Tracks like "They Killed John Henry" and "Here We Go Again" explicitly draw sound out of the past to make something at once new and archaic. Even his cover of Paul Westerberg's "Can't Hardly Wait" sounds like an old 78 from the back of your grandma's trunk.

Earle's shrewd writing and musical clarity spotlight how poor mainstream country has become. He takes risks with sounds that rhinestone cowboys treat frivolously, explores emotions that would make Clear Channel stars shrivel, and doesn't blush to bare his weaknesses to the world. If I could hear sounds like this on my local radio, perhaps I'd listen more. Instead, I buy CDs or downloads to hear music worth my time.
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Format: Audio CD
Justin Townes Earle is the 28-year old son of Steve Earle, whose Midnight at the Movies is Earle's 3rd release in three years. The album offers a style that blends bluegrass-influenced acoustic tunes, honky tonk, contemporary folk, country-western shuffles, etc. At times you feel like you are in cowboy country listening to rambling campfire songs - a hint of Ryan Adams one minute, a smattering of Leon Redbone next. And anyone who covers The Replacements is good with me. My guess is JTE will have a long and interesting future.

GENRES: Contemporary Folk, Mellow Rock, Americana.

BUY IF YOU LIKE: Ryan Adams, Robert Earl Keen, The Avett Brothers.

MUST HEAR TRACKS: "My Mother's Eyes," "Can't Hardly Wait," "Midnight at the Movies," "Some Day I'll Be Forgiven For This."
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Justin Townes Earle is a treasure. His writing, voice and presentation are fresh and speak to the life we all have in common. I shared this with my daughter and she immediately fell in love with him too. When two generations can both love the same music that indicates to me there's a depth that will hold up over time.
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