May 182012
 

Justin Townes Earle has returned with his 5th album which has a title long enough for the next two, Nothing’s Gonna Change The Way You Feel About Me Now. I have a feeling that the title, along with the subject matter of a lot of this album is a reference to his well publicized battles with drugs and his relapse last year. I feel no need to rehash those battles here. If you’re a fan of Americana music you already know all about them, and if you don’t you’re better off for it.

The wife and I recently took off on a 4 day beach getaway up in North Florida and I brought this album along for our listening pleasure. I only mention this ‘cause I wanna explain how intimately I got to know this album over those 4 days. In the end, I expect I spent about 15 hours listening to it and thinking about how I was enjoying it. I’ve seen some people pan the album for various reasons, and I can’t tell you whether or not you’re gonna like the it. I can, however, tell you that I like the cd. I like it a lot. Like, Essential Listening lot, and here are some of my thoughts about it.

The first solid opinion I had on the the album hit me somewhere around Starke. The wife was sleeping and I was in the middle of one of those rainstorms I don’t think you get anywhere outside of Florida. Mentally, I was at total peace, as I love thunderstorms and the brand new tires on the truck, plus the inability to exceed 25 mph and see out the windshield alleviated any hydroplaning worries. There, in the middle of the rain, I realized how perfect this album is for solo road-tripping. The mild pacing of the album seems almost made for driving alone.

The second solid thought I had about the album was how much I hated the song “Unfortunately, Anna” while my third was how “Unfortunately, Anna” sounds like it should be a Counting Crows song. I still don’t like “Unfortunately, Anna” as a JTE song but I am pretty confident I’d love it if the Counting Crows covered it.

The next thought that really settled in was how well the “Memphis sound” fits Justin’s songs. I probably could have talked about this when I was mentioning how good of a road trip album this is, but I wanted to mention it separately. It seems like there is a definite trend in the Americana scene right now to implement horns and keys and justify it by saying they wanted to add some Memphis swag to their sound. I don’t doubt any of them, and some are doing it with great success (see Lucero) but Justin doesn’t sound like he’s “going Memphis” with Nothings Gonna Change, at least…not to me. With Nothings Gonna Change it sounds like Justin tapped into the heart of where his soul currently is. Some reviewers have called it “tired”, others have called it “haggard”, but I think it’s sincere. I really feel like this album’s sound and feel was born out of recovery, and the need for complete honesty with one’s self during that process made its way into the writing and recording of this album.

Justin Townes Earle – Am I That Lonely Tonight?
Justin Townes Earle – Memphis In The Rain

Justin Townes Earle’s Official Site, Justin Townes Earle on Facebook, Justin Townes Earle on Spotify, Buy Nothing’s Gonna Change The Way You Feel About Me Now

Autopsy IV

I am the founder of ninebullets.net. Aside from being a self-made nillionaire, I'm is also a righteous indignation addict and professional self-loather.

  7 Responses to “JUSTIN TOWNES EARLE – NOTHING’S GONNA CHANGE THE WAY YOU FEEL ABOUT ME NOW”

  1. As you probably heard me say-i’m a little suspect of this offering. I feel like the two of us have been riding a rollercoaster together and we’ve tried seats all over the train. I think Justin’s vocal delivery isn’t as on point as his other records. I also heard all the memphis this, memphis that, talk before the record came and and I don’t hear it. Sure there are horns and all but any hints of memphis soul is submerged by all the nyc mentions. You can’t make a memphis record by talking about nyc all the time.

    That said, I enjoy this record. It’s my least favorite of his but it’s still good.

    And on another note-is there a more artistically successful father/son combo than Steve and Justin?

  2. “And on another note-is there a more artistically successful father/son combo than Steve and Justin?”

    Donald and Keifer Sutherland
    Kirk and Michael Douglas
    Hank Sr. and Hank Jr.
    Hank Jr. and Hank 3
    Bob Dylan and Jakob Dylan
    Carl and Rob Reiner
    Dale Earnhardt and Jr.
    Billy Ray Cyrus and Miley
    Judy Garland and Liza Minelli
    Colin and Tom Hanks
    Brian and Carnie Wilson
    Lloyd and Jeff Bridges
    Martin and Charlie Sheen
    Jon Voight and Angelina Jolie
    Henry and Peter Fonda
    Tex and John Ritter
    Waylon and Shooter Jennings

    I included women in the list but still

    Love the new album “Movin on” is my favorite track.

    • The Douglass’s, Sheens (+ Estevez), Fondas (+ Jane), Garland/Minelli, and Bridges (+ Beau) are the only situations where each individual contributes something substantial and the combination is better than the Earles. Bridges and Fondas are the best on that list.

      JTE is one of my favorites, but a handful of 27-minute albums isn’t necessarily the most impressive body of work.

  3. All of the reviews I read before this described this album as having no emotion and, as you mentioned, a “tired” sound. I could not understand that at all. While this is not my favorite JTE record, I think it’s easily his most personal and you can hear that in every song.

    I agree with you that this is a great solo-road trip record. I never putting it on when I’m hanging out with friends, but I put it on when I’m by myself all of the time. Excited to see where he takes his sound next.

  4. Let me preface my comments by saying that I actually enjoy a decent number of JTE songs and so I wouldn’t classify myself as being a “hater.” Having said that, however, there’s something about him that has always struck me as being a bit disingenuous. This is, admittedly, completely unfair of me to say about someone that I’ve never met. It’s just that he strikes me as being this hipster musician (see pretty much all his album covers) hanging out at retro hipster bars in Brooklyn, paying $10 for a can of PBR. Bringing back “Memphis-style” horns is moderately popular so the hipster jumps in on the trend. And, yes, I think I just broke the record for “hipster” mentions in a single paragraph.

  5. I heard this album before I read any press about it, and I thought to myself that his time in NOLA filming Treme may have influenced him – then I read it was meant to be an homage to Memphis soul and it threw me off. I love the album personally, probably my favorite JTE album so far.

  6. Its not as poignant as his previous albums. But its a good one. Im always glad to hear what he’s up to musically. Thanks for sharing.

    -Dean Fields

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