When: Thu., May 10, 7:30 p.m. 2012
On his fourth album, Nothing's Gonna Change the Way You Feel About Me Now (Bloodshot), Justin Townes Earle has changed his skin. Where he used to move among a whole family of rootsy styles—folk rock, honky-tonk, country gospel, rockabilly—he's now embracing horn-stoked Memphis soul, a sound he'd only ever hinted at before. But though the sound of his music has evolved, he remains the same forlorn, down-on-his-luck troubadour he's always been, tallying his romantic fuck-ups in a weary, slightly raspy voice that recalls not only his father, Steve, but also (from time to time) Jeff Tweedy or Paul Westerberg. On "Look the Other Way," a song Otis Redding could've nailed, he frustrates himself by showering fruitless apologies and better-from-now-on promises on a girlfriend who's clearly had enough of him: "Mama, you're never gonna notice if you always look the other way." On the title track, he promises a woman he's led on and dumped that she'll get over him, and on "Unfortunately, Anna," he's been wronged too many times himself to trust his ex anymore. Though this unreliable but charming lout is a character we've encountered in lots of people's songs, Earle has given his loser new life over and over again—overhauling his music is just the latest technique. —Peter Margasak Tristen opens.