Single Mothers by Justin Townes Earle

It’s been quite the turbulent 32-year journey for JT Earle, who is surely one of modern Americana’s brightest shining talents. After several stints in rehab it seemed, at times, that the burden of an all-too-famous father coupled with a self-destructive streak might be his undoing, but a newly sober and newly married Earle seems to have found contentment and a clarity that permeates the 10 tracks on his wonderful fifth album, Single Mothers.

The album was recorded live, without overdubs or session players to accompany Earle’s four-piece touring band in an effort to capture the moment and the honest, personal nature of this new batch of songs. Opening track ‘Worried Bout the Weather’ sets an intimate tone, with Earle displaying a vulnerability not often heard in his music. The songs ‘Picture in a Drawer’ and ‘It’s Cold in This House’ see Earle accompanied only by his guitar and the gorgeous pedal steel of Paul Niehaus, to great effect. On the upbeat ‘My Baby Drives’ you can almost see the ear-to-ear grin on Earle’s face as he brags about having a baby who’ll drive him to church on Sunday and to see his momma every other Monday! Contentment indeed.

Declan Murphy