Thursday, June 13, 2019

Album Review: Justin Townes Earle - The Saint of Lost Causes

Justin Townes Earle
The Saint of Lost Causes
***and1/2 out of *****

On Justin Townes Earle newest album he and his fellow musical travelers dig into Americana with confidence as The Saint of Lost Causes rolls into the ears with polish and charm. The folk singer uses a stout cast of supporters to craft his effecting songs with professional grit and a humanistic vibe. 

His ninth studio album finds JTE crafting a rich tapestry crisscrossing the country quite literally. There are styles and structures from the shuffling "Pacific Northwestern Blues" to the steel guitar tinged love song to "Mornings In Memphis" before heading north to deal with two songs about Flint, Michigan, "Don't Drink The Water" and "Flint City Shake It" a duel set of tunes that deal with that troubled towns exploitative history. 

The geographic patchwork quilt finds different sounds to paint their stories as Adam Bednarik - Upright Bass, Electric Bass Joe V. McMahan - Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Slide Guitar, Baritone Guitar, Celeste Paul Niehaus - Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Pedal Steel Jon Radford - Drums, Percussion Cory Younts - Harmonica, Wurlitzer, Piano, Fender Rhodes, Background Vocals all back up Earle. The true MVP's are the producers Earle and Bednarik who craft warm sounds throughout with vibrant production.

Where things shift is in the harrowing tale of drugs, cop killers and hopelessness contained in the haunting "Appalachian Nightmare" as the music pairs with the sad junkie/criminal tale using strings lightly distorted bass and big bass drums; a stunning track. Another album highlight is "Frightened By The Sound" which takes a slightly less final approach but still paints a gorgeous sonic picture.

The blues get spun for a whirl as the stripped down "Say Baby" goes for a direct approach while "Ain't Got No Money" pushes up the road house tempo and both infuse harmonica with damn fine results getting an earthy grim on the record that feels sprung from the soil as is.

Earle has produced a neat trick, making an album that speaks to current troubles, yet feels timeless in construction; The Saint of Lost Causes is the strongest album Earle has crafted in some time.
Support the artist, buy the album and peep some video below: 

No comments:

Post a Comment