Though there may be some perks, in general, rock ‘n’ roll sons have a hard-ass time in this life. Julian Lennon has got to have moments where he just feels like he’s being humored; Sean Lennon may not even have the presence of mind to pick up on it; Jakob Dylan is a far better artist than he’ll ever get credit for. In this light, that makes the achievements of Justin Townes Earle, son of Steve, all the more astonishing and sweet. And in fact, I will go out on a limb and say the thing about this particular rock ‘n’ roll son that has got to be a holy grail for the lot of them — Justin Townes Earle, as far as the songwriting and the rocking goes, is an altogether superior proposition to his father.
Over seven albums produced in the last decade — a clip that’s just flat-out impressive in any genre — Earle has evolved into a singer and songwriter who’s smart, warm and deeply emotive. At least some of the time you’ve been paying to, say, Ryan Adams, you might have, at various points, spent your time better with Justin. These are songs that are really in touch with the person who wrote them — I’m listening to 2015’s Absent Fathers (the companion LP to its sequel, Single Mothers) as I type this — but they’re never po-faced, they have this brilliant confidence, a sense of what’s what about them. He’s upset the entire cliché, and it’s pretty damned great.
Tickets available here.