Justin Townes Earle; Newcastle Cluny II.
January 21st 2011
The intimate Cluny II venue was crackling with anticipation long before the impossibly tall and handsome Justin Townes Earle leaned over the microphone to introduce himself and start the evening with Move over Mama.
JTE’s then began a very touching and delicate version of Mama’s Eyes by telling us that his Mom is 6 feet tall and ‘can punch harder than most men’ which his Dad could testify to; as she once hit him so hard she detached a retina!
It’s not until you see JTE play live that you realise what a great guitarist and charming raconteur he is; which made the night fly by.
After taking yet another slug of Red Bull JTE launched himself into a rowdy version of Townes Van Zandt’s Bad Gasoline which really lifted the already excitable audience to a new level.
During the more poignant songs like Wandering and Someday I’ll be Forgiven For This, Justin stalks around the stage like a cat while playing the guitar solos.
The highlight of the evening came when JTE turned Springsteen’s Classic Rock song Racing in the Streets into a folk ballad so deep and dark it scared people at the back. The applause eventually shook the rafters of the Victorian building.
The 110 minute set ended with a rousing version of the Award winning Harlem River Blues which had been introduced by JTE telling us that the song was about “washing away our sins – the bigger the sin; the deeper the water!”
As the crowd genuinely shouted and stamped for more he slipped outside for a quick ciggy before coming back and singing two acapella songs; then with a hearty wave he was gone into the night.
A longer more detailed version of this review and a full in-depth interview will appear on www.maverick-country.com from February 7th 2011