Home Read Justin Townes Earle | The Saint of Lost Causes

Justin Townes Earle | The Saint of Lost Causes

Steve's son and Van Zandt's namesake spins more hardscrabble, harrowing tales.

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WHO IS HE? The journeyman singer-songwriter who’s doing a fine job of following in the large footsteps of his legendary father Steve Earle — while also managing to forge his own distinctive path.

WHAT IS THIS? His eighth collection of rootsy narratives chronicling the hardscrabble lives and harrowing times of fringe dwellers, criminals, misfits and other so-called lost causes.

WHAT DOES IT SOUND LIKE? Thanks to his drawled vocals and bleak worldview, he’s something of a cross between his dad and his namesake Townes Van Zandt.

HOW SHOULD I LISTEN TO IT? With a glass of bourbon, a pack of smokes, some opiods and a platter of fried food.

WHAT 10 WORDS DESCRIBE IT? Bluesy, piercing, evocative, intense, moody, sympathetic, accomplished, pointed, unfussy, haunted.

WHAT ARE THE BEST SONGS? The spry slapback rockabilly of Ain’t Got No Money, the slide-blues two-step Don’t Drink the Water and the honky-tonk bouncer Flint City Shake It get you up; the grim drugstore cowboy saga Appalachian Nightmare brings you down.

WHAT WILL MY FRIENDS AND FAMILY THINK? That they would definitely like to borrow the album.

HOW OFTEN WILL I LISTEN TO THIS? As often as you can pry it back from your friends and family.

IF THIS ALBUM WERE A BOOK, WHAT KIND OF BOOK WOULD IT BE? A dog-eared paperback of short fiction by a southern-gothic writer.

SHOULD I BUY, STREAM OR STEAL? If the song Ain’t Got No Money doesn’t tell you the right thing to do, nothing else will.