Singer, guitarist, and songwriter Justin Townes Earle is son of Nashville rebel/alt-country godfather (no pun intended) Steve Earle. His middle name is a tribute to the legendary Texas troubadour Townes Van Zandt, a seminal influence to the senior Earle (and most of the Americana crowd, directly or indirectly). J.T. Earle followed his padre's path perhaps a little too closely, acquiring self-destructive habits resulting in his being fired from Earle Sr.'s touring band. Like his father, Justin gave his demons the boot and got down to business, resulting in a damn fine solo debut, The Good Life. Vocally he conveys only a slight family resemblance -- JTE sounds more like a very young Hank Williams, Sr. on "What Do You Do When You're Lonesome" and "Hard Livin'," both exuding honky tonk swagger and Western swing cool. With its reggae-like lilt and thick, tasty Hammond organ, "South Georgia Sugar Babe" evokes the Band covering a song by Ray Charles (or vice versa). Justin Townes Earle is no "Fredo" or a Steve wannabe -- he's gonna do the name proud.
Thu., March 20, 8:30 p.m., 2008