By now Justin Townes Earle has released enough albums and developed his songwriting to the extent where he’s found his own distinct corner of the country music world. He’s developed an identifiable sound, particularly in the effortless swing he places in his music and the way he delivers his lyrics – that fluid and melodious, easy canter. Increasingly he’s populated his recordings with all manner of instrumentation, particularly horns, and these bring a soulful and sometimes funky New Orleans flavour to Kids In The Street.
There’s a sense of nostalgia in some of these songs – ‘Kids In the Street’ recalls Earle’s youth, while ‘Faded Valentine’ reminisces about the early days of a relationship. Elsewhere he tackles the devil, negotiates troubled relationships and gives his take on the age-old tale of Stagger Lee (‘Same Old Stagolee’). The end result is an album that, on repeated listens, delivers a wider ranging stylistic palette than those found on Earle’s last few records. That alone shows an artist still moving forward, expanding his creative skillset and refining his craft.
The bonus track version includes a relaxed and laid-back cover of Paul Simon’s ‘Graceland’ that is worth hunting out.