Justin Townes Earle Releases – Absent Fathers
Australian Tour 2015
Following the success of his fifth studio album, Single Mothers, Justin Townes Earle has released the companion album Absent Fathers. Comprised of ten original tracks (and one bonus song for the Australian edition), Absent Fathers was recorded alongside Single Mothers as a double album of twenty songs but, as Justin began to sequence it, he felt each half needed to make its own statement and they took on their own identities. Earle is certainly not resting on his recording or touring laurels – Absent Fathers is his sixth release since 2008. He is a very regular tourist Down Under as well, visiting these shores one or twice a year, the last being just this past October.
The new release continues his themes of broken relationships and misunderstanding. It’s pretty much downbeat in tone and his unique rhythm guitar is out front, underpinning most of the songs, which are arranged sparsely. It appears on the surface to be more country than alt. country or Americana compared with previous output, but perhaps that’s due to the pedal steel guitar which appears at key moments (from Paul Niehaus of Calexico fame). A deeper inspection though reveals his trademark intelligence and lyrical directness. He stretches his vocals here to accentuate the emotion as well. He is a courageous artist never shirking emotional honesty.
This is a tough review to write. All the songs on Absent Fathers are strong and the collection might be as good as he’s ever done. It’s a remarkably consistent release, given his prolific output and is eminently worth acquiring. Sometimes, though consistency can be an anchor. Perhaps I’m still hoping for, or expecting, a crash-through album, a down-and-out classic that’s going to take his career and appeal to a new level.
Aside from Niehaus, other players are Mark Hedman on bass and Matt Pence on drums, with recording done at Quad Studios in Nashville. Absent Fathers is released in Australia on CD, limited edition vinyl (a one-time pressing of 500 copies only) and digital download. All formats include “Dreams”. While Down Under, Earle recorded a cover of the Fleetwood Mac hit, “Dreams” live on FBi Radio.
Absent Fathers Track List:
1. Farther From Me
3. Least I Got The Blues
4. Call Ya Momma
5. Day and Night
6. Round the Bend
7. When the One You Love Loses Faith
8. Slow Monday
9. Someone Will Pay
10. Looking For A Place To Land
11. Dreams (Australian & New Zealand bonus track)
2015 Australian Tour Dates
Apr 02 Blues Fest Byron Bay NSW
Apr 03 Boogie Festival Tallarook Victoria
Apr 05 Blues Fest Byron Bay NSW
Apr 09 Grace Emily Adelaide SA
Apr 10 Northcote Social Club Melbourne, Victoria
Apr 11 Theatre Royal Castlemaine, Victoria
Apr 12 Yarra Hotel Abbotsford, Melbourne Victoria
Apr 14 Northcote Social Club Melbourne, Victoria (extra show added)
Apr 15 The Basement Sydney, NSW
Apr 16 Newtown Social Club Sydney, NSW
Apr 17 Lizottes Newcastle, NSW
Apr 18 Anita’s Wollongong, NSW
Thanks to Warner Music and footstompmusic