written by Chris Familton
Justin Townes Earle has made a habit of changing it up on each of his three albums. The Good Life found him very much in the traditional country and folk songwriter mould while Harlem River Blues saw him using New York as a source of inspiration. Now Earle has shifted geographically south west to Memphis and painted his songs with references to the city, its moods and most importantly its sound.
Recorded live over four days with no overdubs this is an album that sounds fresh, immediate and welcoming. The lack of overdubs means there is plenty of space for instruments to find their place in the mix and allow Earle’s plaintiff vocals to take centre-stage. He sounds more relaxed than ever with none of the speed freak intensity of delivery that one experiences at his live shows. Instead he serenades the fairer sex on Maria and Unfortunately, Anna, bemoans loneliness on Am I That Lonely Tonight and laments lost opportunities with quite a world weary tone to his voice.
Memphis is lyrically represented on the gorgeous horn and organ led Down On The Lower East Side and Memphis In The Rain where he takes the listener on a journey through the city looking for love. Horns play a prominent role in the sound of the album, giving it a soul flavour and providing a textured balance with its starker moments. That balance is key to a record that only clocks in at half an hour yet within that short time we get ten songs, all of them of the highest quality. Earle has refined his style and distilled it to its essence making Nothing’s Gonna Change The Way You Feel About Me Now his best yet. It is a beautiful album of country soul that finds Earle reaching his most natural and genuine musical destination.