Justin Townes Earle falls short on new album

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Posted: Sep 08, 2014 11:24 AM
Justin Townes Earle falls short on new album

Justin Townes Earle, "Single Mothers" (Vagrant)

Justin Townes Earle, a guitar-wielding practitioner of bluesy folk music, comes up short on "Single Mothers," 10 tracks of wordy Americana with impractical melodies that are hard to care about.

The son of Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Steve Earle has earned his own way musically, releasing five albums. He plays a nice guitar and sings, passably at best, about nice topics. But something rings false about the delivery, as though he's performing out of his genre and is merely an artistic interloper.

The title track is ostensibly about broken homes, but it's hard to tell amid the overly verbose lyrical plot line. "Wanna Be A Stranger" is similarly afflicted. The music and pace is fine, and the lyrics themselves are nicely constructed.

Earle just needs someone else to sing them. His effete, indie growl of a voice doesn't touch your heart well enough to pull you in deeper.

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