Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Younger Earle makes McGlohon debut, produces Jackson

Justin Townes Earle - son of singer-songwriter and activist Steve Earle - returns to Charlotte November 16. He'll play McGlohon Theatre. I believe the upcoming concert marks only his third time playing Charlotte. I saw him with a handful of listeners at the Evening Muse before he released his debut album "The Good Life" in 2008. I was pretty blown away. I told him years later that I felt like I'd gone to school as he unearthed random old blues and vintage country covers (as well as a cover of his father's "Tom Ames' Prayer" - one of my favorite Steve Earle songs). It took almost four years to get him back in Charlotte. He played the US National Whitewater Center last fall and is admittedly taking a different approach now doing original material more in the style of his varied influences than splicing his set lists with material by other artists.

My love of his dad's music is no secret (you can read my review of the elder Earle's latest Charlotte show here), but it's rare that a second or third generation artist displays the musical or writing chops of his or her parent. The prolific Justin Townes Earle is doing that while charting a career that's completely different than his father's while still hovering in that broad genre that is "Americana."

Earle recently produced the upcoming Wanda Jackson album. It marks Earle's debut as a producer and the legendary female singer/guitarist's 31st album. Her last was produced by Jack White. The album titled "Unfinished Business" will feature a duet between Jackson and Earle. There's a making of video at "Rolling Stone" online now. 

Carolinian Tift Merritt serves as the opening act on the November leg of Earle's tour, which ends in Charlotte. Earle's latest album "Nothing's Gonna Change the Way You Feel About Me Now" was released in March. Keep an eye on and for ticket information.

(Photo by Joshua Black Wilkins courtesy of Bloodshot Records)