Because Songs Matter


I’m not sure what I was expecting from Justin’s Bloodshot debut, The Good Life, but it wasn’t much. I don’t know why, either. I had never heard anything from his debut EP, Yuma, but when it came down to it I was only giving The Good Life a courtesy listen. Regardless of what I was expecting, what I got was one of the best albums so far this year.

Son of Steve Earle…Townes Van Zandt…blah blah…the names and shadows have been well documented on other blogs, so I’m just gonna talk about the music.

From the more Hank at the Opry hobo song and title track “The Good Life” to the standout Civil War story song “Lone Pine Hill”, Earle shows a songwriting command and reverence of the past far beyond his mere 25 years. The album isn’t a mere case of mimicry, though. Justin manages to play off the influences of country greats and still sound fresh.

While this might be the worst case of blasphemy in the history of Americana music bloggery, it’s the truth: In my opinion, The Good Life is better than anything his daddy has ever put together. Allow me to preface that, though. I’ve never really been fanatical about Steve Earle. I like some of his songs well enough, but I’ve never liked enough of them enough to bother very much. On the other hand, another effort like this from Justin and I’ll be nearing the fanatical stage.

The Good Life; it’s essential listening and bound for many a year end top 10 list.

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