JUSTIN TOWNES EARLE > The Good Life

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Justin Townes Earle may carry the names of two of Americana’s biggest heroes, but on The Good Life, he’s more Haggard than Van Zandt or dad Steve. Label: Bloodshot 
[Rating: 4 Stars]

Justin Townes Earle may carry the names of two of Americana’s biggest heroes, but on The Good Life, he’s more Haggard than Van Zandt or dad Steve. Letting fiddle-pedal steel and southern-drawl elements of classic country shine through on half of these tunes (“Lonesome and You,” “What Do You Do When You’re Lonesome?”-there’s even a pattern in his song titles), and the stark nakedness of his own confessions illuminate others (“Turn Out My Lights,” with his haunting harmonica; the affecting “Who Am I to Say?”-apparently written from his father’s perspective about Justin’s own addictive period), Earle also earns comparisons to Jim Lauderdale (the almost ragtime “Hard Livin,'” the title tune and “Ain’t Glad I’m Leaving”) and the less cloying work of Jimmy Buffett (“South Georgia Sugar Babe”). Though only 25, he’s been around long enough to craft one of the year’s most charming-and distinctive- efforts.

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