Justin Townes Earle

Sunday, May 17

What’s more difficult than having a famous father who named you after a songwriting legend? Releasing albums of your own that are guaranteed to be judged before having been listened to! Justin Townes Earle is the son of outlaw troubadour Steve Earle and was named in honor of lyrical genius Townes Van Zandt. Last year, young J.T. released The Good Life, an album steeped in rudimentary country and folk forms. Very little about it was outstanding, but one thing was clear: He was a pretty sharp guitar picker…but was no Steve Earle or Townes Van Zandt. This turned out to be a good thing, because it at least lifted the burden placed on him by critics and fans of his father and namesake. His follow-up, Midnight At The Movies, is further proof that Justin’s his own boy. A collection of after-hours honky-tonk and smooth countrypolitan tunes, the mood here is one of cool, jazzy heartache, pulled from an era when cigarettes were classy and men wore suspenders without irony. But the music is still bursting with twang. If you can imagine the Old Crow Medicine Show at a black tie affair or Randy Newman at a barn dance, you’ll have a good idea what I’m getting at here. BRIAN J. BARR

Sun., May 17, 7 p.m., 2009

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