Justin Townes Earle might not be the greatest songwriter in the world but he is certainly the most consistently excellent songwriter in 2014. From 2012 to 2014, Earle has written, recorded and released 20 perfect songs. Absolutely flawless jewels. His 2012 Nothing’s Gonna Change The Way You feel About Me Now was the best album of that year, right now I can play any song off it, “Am I That Lonely Tonight” and it immediately weaves its magic, its hearbreak, its downness, its humanity: the songs don’t wear off.
Or I can play Single Mothers from one end to the other with nothing but the deepest of pleasures in the man’s artistry. In what Earle does he has no competition, and when he tells the world he needs nobody to advise him how to construct an album, as he did during a tussle with record company, there is no doubt at all he is telling the truth.
This is what I wrote at the time (here) “Everything about Single Mothers is right, the length is perfect, these highly melodic country tracks with the occasional guitar solo (but less horns) are waiting to be heard over and over again on a loop. Just when you are dying for the opening track “Worried About The Weather”, with its wonderful slide guitar instrumental break and simplest of metaphors (he is scared she will change like the weather): a compact, clever concept wrapped up in three and half minutes, there it is. And you are not that far from his first single, ode to Billie Holiday “White Dahlias”