Justin Townes Earle New Album Kids In The Street
For the first time Justin Townes Earle has worked with an outside producer and he chose Mike Moogis, for Kids In The Street as he releases the album on his New West Records and the first not recorded in Nashville, a trio of debuts that definitely gives the album curbside appeal.
Following his previous critically acclaimed albums Single Mothers followed by Absent Fathers; this album, Kids In The Street completes the trio has an upbeat, optimistic feel that makes you want to play hopscotch on the street as you did as a child; kick off your shoes and run through the grass and make daisy chains. The originals have a fresh simplicity, an enchanting fluidity as the meaningful lyrics entwine themselves around the melodic guitar chords.
The album kicks off in high rolling fast-moving rock n roll beat as we toast Champagne Corolla. With this upbeat number we hear the refrain Pretty little thing riding by in a champagne Corolla; an ode to car life and far much more as you explore his clever lyrics. Achieving the goal from the off-classic rhythms with a modern lyric. We have the country twang of steel guitar and piano and a clicking rhythm building up to a swirl of sadness and Justin sings What’s She Crying For leads in to a 15-25 looking back with the feel of New Orleans the keys have a Professor Longhair feel as his vocals drawl and have a lopping lazy feel as the tempo picks up. Leading into the title track, taking us back with the simple guitar intro the vocals “ My best friend lived in this house we played ball after school…” looking back to simpler times of 1990’s; full of nostalgia but not rose-tinted glasses just memories that have smoothed out the rough edges. Is this a track that pops out at you? Bringing the album together, not really just misses as so much of the album on first listen it is good, but delving deeper it never raises the game to excellent.
The reflective, retro hazy feel is the tonal phrasing for much of the album; the tone is brought up with a jolt with Justin’s version of Stagolee, the guitar is harsher, his voice deeper and seems not to fit a pebble sending ripples across Kids In The Street. The re-working is subtle a more drastic re-arrangement may have slotted in but this feels like the unwanted guest at a party. Same Old Stagolee certainly has not received the gentrification that the streets of Nashville referred to in many of the tracks on Kids In The Street.
Closing the album with There Goes A Fool, deep, darker and full of introspective and skillful songwriting, before hitting the bonus track Paul Simon’s Graceland. This acoustic version closes out an album that just doesn’t quite reach the potential that sets it apart from other Americana albums,
The album is reflective and moves on from his last album Single Mothers and Absent Fathers delivering his own innovative Americana feel, where Justin leads others have followed. The music is to Muscle Shoals to be Country – too retro to be cutting edge. Who cares? Kids In The Streets with its layers of music with old style guitar and lyrics that have something to say it is a good listen and has a purpose in its commentary. What more do you want from an album. For Bluesdoodles Kids In The Street is a welcomed addition and will be played for the sheer enjoyment of listening to Justin Townes Earle.
Justin Townes Earle – Kids In The Street – New West Records
EIGHTdoodle paws out of TEN ….
- Champagne Corolla
- Maybe A Moment
- What’s She Crying
- Kids In the Street
- Faded Valentine
- What’s Goin’ Wrong
- Short Hair Woman
- Same Old Stagolee
- If I Was The Devil
- There Go A Fool
- Graceland (Bonus Track)
Earle has announced a quartet of UK dates in the summer:
Monday 26 June – The Tunnels – Bristol
Saturday 01 July – Maverick Festival – Suffolk
Monday 03 July – The Crescent – York
Tuesday 04 July – Omeara – London