Goin’ Down The Road, Feelin’ Fine: JTE Live At Mississippi Studios 2/20/11
Ok, so anyone who even remotely knows me knows that my love of Justin Townes Earle is no secret. When people ask me why he’s one of my favorite musicians out there these days I often reply with: imagine Hank Williams’ stage presence, Woody Guthrie’s songwriting, Buddy Holly’s fashion sense, and Jack Kerouac’s bad boy charisma had an orgy. Their love child would be Justin Townes Earle. Aka, everything this girl loves rolled into one tall, handsome, ridiculously talented glass of Southern water.
More importantly, I don’t care about his last name. Or his middle name for that matter. Or the media circus that’s been surrounding him for months. What I do care about is the fact that the he’s back out on the road and seemingly, from last Sunday’s performance here in Portland, with a vengeance.
After a sweet and all too short set by Dawn Landes (whom I love even more after seeing live), Earle, along with Josh and Bryn, took to the stage and immediately began bringing the house down. From the moment he walked onstage, he was charming, playful, and nothing but honest about the events of the past few months. The sold out crowd only seemed to add to the particularly high energy set and, like the main character in “Harlem River Blues,” Justin proved all night long that slipping on the undertow doesn’t always necessarily mean an end so much as a chance for redemption.
Rather than a full review, I thought I’d share some of my favorite moments and photos from the show. Enjoy!
1) Seeing Justin getting carded by the doorman as he walked back in from outside.
2) Meeting and chatting with the lovely Joshua Hedley: anyone who remotely knows me also knows that I simply adore this man. Getting to chat with him for a bit before he got ready for show time proved that he’s everything I thought he would be. Sweet, humble, and somewhat unaware of how awesome he is which in turn makes him even more awesome. If you haven’t bought his EP “Green Eyes” on Amazon or iTunes yet, do so now for your own good.
3) Bryn signaling the sound guy to turn up her bass. And then, with the utmost grace and style, noticing that she had in fact forgotten to plug it in.
4) The face Justin gets when he talks about “that girl from Georgia.” (See below)
5) A woman from the crowd yelling, “thank you!” as Justin introduced a song with: “I wrote this next one about a girl…”
6) Whenever Justin is about to play “Ain’t Waitin’” he usually starts with the line “Now ladies and gentlemen, two of my weaknesses are…” and finishes with “the young ladies and fried chicken.” Due to his immaculately quaffed hair that night however, someone in the crowd offered up “hairspray?” as a response causing Earle to smile quietly and say, “I like that.”
7) After the encore, the crowd stood about looking like they may begin chanting for another one. In the end, Portland crowds are way too quiet and polite. 🙂
8)Hmmm, let’s see if I can put this delicately without being too inappropriate. Justin’s been performing this Lightning Hopkin’s cover for a while now but lately he’s been slowing it down a bit. All to, ahem, great effect. Let’s just say I had to think about baseball and piles of laundry a lot during this one. (This vid was actually taken at the GAMH in San Francisco, but he played the same version in Portland).