What do you want to bet that Nashville singer and songwriter Justin Townes Earle is, at least slightly, tired of the mentions of Steve Earle, his famous father, or Townes Van Zandt, the musician who inspired his middle name? Well if he is not now, by the time he is done promoting this album he just may be. But he may be in luck. Judging by Earle's debut album, "The Good Life," neither famous shadow frightens him as he makes his own mark with tight instrumentation and a smooth voice to match.
Earle sends a shiver down your back with the serious and desolate tone he sets on opening track "Lone Pine Hill" as guitar echoes with a soft twang. Looser and more fluid, "South Georgia Sugar Babe" and the memorable "Ain't Glad I'm Leavin'" show off an easier side while Earle offers a heart wrenching ballad that still has some body with "Lonesome and You." With piano keys jingling with a quick melody, "Hard Livin'" sounds like it just stepped out of the past as a bluesy guitar solo on "Faraway In Another Town" has a comparatively more modern feel.
While many of the artists inspired by the Americana roots and rock musicians of yesterday try to reinterpret, Earle plays the part of a mimic who never loses his own voice, which is still developing. Earle certainly is not reinventing anything or stopping the show with new ideas on "The Good Life," but he is breathing an energetic life into music that seems lost in today's busy society. "The Good Life" is heartfelt and invigorating and Earle makes it so.