As the son of Steve Earle it could be argued that Justin Townes Earle was always destined to make music and be susceptible to substance abuse. After a brief stint in rehab in 2010, the young Earle has been sober and last year saw him take his nuptials. Single Mothers is his first record after wedded bliss.
He will never free himself from the country tag completely, but Earle does glide on the Memphis soul sound that was introduced on his previous album. On Midnight At The Movies, Earle sung of the impulsiveness that he received from his father and the clarity that he received from being raised by his mother. He revisits this sentiment on the title track where he again pays homage to his mother and takes a swipe at absent fathers in a soulful manner.
There is some added class this trip out with some slick arrangements, yet Earle is at his finest when things are pulled back to their bare minimum. Picture In A Drawer is a snail-paced ache that makes the most of Earle’s drawl and sounds so intimate that your teary eyes will be checking the porch for a singer lurking in the shadows.
With an ode to Billie Holiday and some raw heartbreakers, Single Mothers is a broad collection that shows the many sides of Earle. Even supplement free, his undoubted talent shines.