Justin Townes Earle, “Harlem River Blues”

Free MP3 of the Day

Justin Townes Earle in one of the finest country recording artists to lay a song to wax in the last four years. But, unless you’ve been living under a rock on the outbound side of state road 31, you already know that. If you don’t, it’s time to get you caught up.

His name should tell you that he’s got some country in his blood: Dad is Steve Earle, Stepmom is Alison Moorer and his middle name comes from Daddy’s dear departed friend, one Mr. Van Zant.

A junkie by the age of twelve, the younger Earle played in a number of bands (including his Daddy’s group, the Dukes) before being busted out for his drug use. Clean and sober, Earle got refocused on his music, started hitting the festival circuit and making records (beginning with his 2007 release on Bloodshot, Yuma). Three albums later and still with the same label, Townes dropped Harlem River Blues (though he did find himself back in rehab about the same time).

Though we’ll try to describe the title cut’s wonderful country drive, JTE’s picture perfect channeling of Johnny Cash and the arrangement’s gorgeous tip-of-the-hat to the Jordonaires, we suggest you just download the record and write up a little description of your own.

‘Tis a beautiful thing.

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Lyrics
Lord, I'm going uptown
To the Harlem River to drown
Dirty water gonna cover me over
And I'm not gonna make a sound