Justin Townes Earle didn’t look like he was in the right place as he took the stage at XPN’s Non-Comm show at the Queen in Wilmington, DE.   He was too well dressed, too tall and too lanky.   His glass frames had a reddish tint to them and they’re almost too big for his oval face.   His expression was serious and I wasn’t sure what to expect.  But when he began his first tune I knew he was there to be serious about his music.  The audience got quiet and listened closely to this solo man and his guitar.

His voice is twangy but not harsh or grating or synthetic.  His voice has a friendly quality.  It’s like you want to meet this guy, have a chat on the porch and hear what he has to say.  Maybe he could tell you a tale from his childhood that would make you laugh with its bittersweet ending.  His influences must include Woody Gutherie and maybe a little church music and it all works just fine, thank you very much.

He ended his set with “Harlem River Blues”, the title song from his latest album.  It was perfect and maybe even a little bittersweet.  His awards are many and I’m sure his career will continue to flourish.

Missed Justin at NON COMM? Catch him at Southern Shore Music Fest on June 18th in Millville, NJ.