Justin Townes Earle got a double dose of patrimony from his father Steve: The talent and the trouble. The singer-songwriter named after Townes Van Zandt played the First Unitarian Church last night, his first time back in town after cancelling a September show after entering voluntary rehab. "I've been in treatment 13 times," the singer, who's been clean for a few months said, as he paced the stage, drinking water. He talked about how much he likes to drink straght vodka in the morning, and also enjoys cocaine and pain pills. "I have a common disregard for my own well being."
Backed by fiddler Josh Hedley and upright bassist Bryn Davies, Earle, who's impressively adept at supporting himself on finger picked guitar, stuck to the sad songs. "You love George Jones because you know you feel better than him," he explained. Earle's got a bunch of quality tunes that run the country-blues-folk American vernacular gamut, and a handful of great ones, like "Mama's Eyes." (Steve Klinge's interview with him from last weeik's Inky is here.) His new album, Harlem River Blues, is one of the best of the year. But a brand new one about hitting absolute rock bottom called "Won't Be The Last Time" was even better, earning its reference to Kris Kristofferson's "Sunday Morning Coming Down." Spine shivering.
Previously: The Second Time Around