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Wednesday, June 3, 2009

6/4: Justin Townes Earle at Kent Stage

Posted By on Wed, Jun 3, 2009 at 11:00 AM

There’s no running from the legacy of his names, but Justin Townes Earle’s first two albums suggest that he may yet measure up to father Steve Earle’s and namesake troubadour Townes Van Zandt’s heritages. Like his dad, he’s infused rock ethos into country-rock, though Justin favors more traditional (the honky-tonk “Poor Fool”) and Bakersfield (hooker-ode “Black Eyed Suzy”) blends. His latest album, Midnight at the Movies, while still indebted to an old-timey sound, feels more polished and fully formed than last year’s debut, The Good Life. From the laconic cabaret-pop title track paean to a pair of strangers who meet weekly in the movie light to the torchy piano ballad “Someday I’ll Be Forgiven for This” (not to mention his cover of the Replacements’ “Can’t Hardly Wait”), the album shows a more modern sensibility this time around. There’s not a filler track in the dozen, but the standout is “Mama’s Eyes,” whose title offers a sly joke on Justin’s legacy. “I am my father’s son, I’ve never known when to shut up,” confesses Justin, acknowledging he has never seen eye-to-eye with his dad (“I’ll be the first to admit I haven’t tried”) and has gone down the same sin-filled road (read: heroin addiction). He ends it all with a dash of superiority: “But I was younger then.” The show starts at 8 p.m. at the Kent Stage (175 E. Main St., Kent, 330.677.5005). Tickets: $15 advance, $18 day of show. — Chris Parker

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