• Album Preview: Justin Townes Earle’s Harlem River Blues


    By J. Brown
    In taking inspiration from New York City, Nashville-born Justin Townes Earle is set to release his latest album, Harlem River Blues, on September 14th. The album proves to be a progression in the singer’s sound as he moves toward more soulful, blues-based country music. Earle, the son of the legendary Steve Earle, in many ways can be described as the savior of real country music, as he respects its tradition, the old-time base, and the genre’s best forefathers. His style is an art long lost amongst today’s popular country stars who do little to pay tribute to the genre’s greats in the manner Earle does, as his music embodies a certain sense of timelessness and an eye toward the unadorned. It takes skill to produce new material that sounds fresh and original while also in line with eras long gone. His previous albums cannot be classified as entirely country, as they also fall under the classic singer/songwriter tradition with a good mix of Southern influence. A preview track has been released in anticipation of the record and it takes its name from the album’s title, Harlem River Blues. You can hear the track here:

    Justin Townes Earle – “Harlem River Blues”

    The title track has noticeable gospel influences and is a change of pace from many of Earle’s popular tracks from previous albums, such as The Good Life and They Killed John Henry. The latest album is the artist’s first attempt at co-producing. In describing how he came up with the title Harlem River Blues, Earle told Paste Magazine that “I drove over the Harlem River one time and it was just the most desolate-looking thing I’d ever seen. It’s way up in the northeast of Manhattan, it comes down out of the Bronx, down into Harlem, and it’s just the nastiest body of water you’ve ever seen in your life. And I guess it just kind of inspired me a little bit.”

    Regardless of Earle’s latest influences, his music is always down to earth, honest, authentic and no-frills. If there is any complaint to be had, the latest album is only 10 songs (11 tracks). Here’s the track listing:

    1. Harlem River Blues
    2. One More Night In Brooklyn
    3. Move Over Mama
    4. Working for the MTA
    5. Wanderin’
    6. Slippin’ and Slidin’
    7. Christchurch Woman
    8. Learning to Cry
    9. Ain’t Waitin’
    10. Rogers Park
    11. Harlem River Blues (Reprise)

    The album is Earle’s third and he is set to tour the country in promotion of the new recording.
    The dates and locations can be found on his web site.

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