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The Good Life

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Album Review

Let's get the obvious out of the way first: Justin Townes Earle's father is Steve Earle, and the sort of folks most likely to be interested in Justin's debut album The Good Life are the same kind of music fans who've been following his dad's work for years. Thankfully for Justin, that's not because he sounds all that much like his old man; Justin's voice is sweeter and clearer, and his clear fondness for old-school country gives The Good Life a pleasing feeling of understatement that's significantly different from Steve's tougher, more rock-oriented work. But if Justin is reaching back to the glory days of the Grand Ole Opry on numbers like "What Do You Do When You're Lonesome," "Hard Livin'," and the title tune, he also reveals a more contemplative side on thoughtful, no-frills singer/songwriter pieces such as the confessional "Who Am I to Say," the period gunman's saga of "Lone Pine Hill," and "Turn out My Lights," a plaintive meditation on loneliness and heartbreak. On the latter songs, Justin's music more closely resembles Steve's, but while the themes and approaches are similar, Justin isn't afraid to sound vulnerable, and the youthful modesty of both the songs and the performances works in their favor; this doesn't suggest the work of someone following Steve Earle's template but of a songwriter who has dealt with a set of similar demons and has a corresponding but distinct perspective on how they've impacted his life. The simple arrangements and hands-off production add to the gentle but decisive impact of The Good Life, and the result is a fine calling card for a young singer/songwriter who may not have worked out every last detail of his sound but clearly knows where he's going, and it happens to be a place worth visiting.

Customer Reviews


Justin is beyond his years with his songwriting. I love the song Ain't Glad I'm Leaving, it leaves you with the feeling it came right out of the 40's, then he switches gears to do Who am I to Say, which is an amazing modern folk-like ballad. I would recommend this to anyone - I have one of his most country-like songs on my MySpace profile (South Georgia Sugar Babe), and have gotten compliments from people who aren't even Country listeners. He's a breath of fresh, unapologetic, often super-twangy country. If you have a chance to see him live - you should. He's stage presence is amazing - this guy was born to perform!

Great Album

This is an absolutely great album from an artist who is only 26 years old. It is a strong country sound mix that incorporates, slow acoustic, americana, roots, blues, bluegrass, and almost a swing sound. Compelling story telling, and driven instrumentals compliment his vocals and give the songs true depth and character.

Excellent Initial Offering

Great offering from the son of arguably the BEST American singer/songwriter ever (Steve Earle) and the namesake of a true legend (Townes VanZant). It's clear to see that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, since this isn't some pop driven country wannabe album. This is an artist staying true to himself and pouring out his guts for the world to like or hate, and either way he doesn't let the pop charts dictate his music. Thank you Justin for being the artist and man I know your daddy is really proud of!!! Beautiful music and well worth purchasing if you like real country music with soul and heart.


Born: January 4, 1982 in Nashville, TN

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '00s, '10s

In some respects, Justin Townes Earle seemed destined from birth to be a musician -- his father, Steve Earle, is one of America's most acclaimed singer/songwriters, and he was named in part for Townes Van Zandt, a close friend to Earle and an equally legendary tunesmith. But Justin also grew up learning the downside of the musician's life, and came up against some of the same demons that haunted his father. Born in 1982, Justin Townes Earle didn't see much of his dad through most of his childhood;...
Full Bio
The Good Life, Justin Townes Earle
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Customer Ratings