A bird with a pedigree: Justin Townes Earle

This is the sixth installment in our _____-part series profiling artists playing the Birds on a Wire Festival in Pullman March 26-27.Visit http://www.birdsonawirefest.com or http://www.stereopathicmusic.com for tickets and more information.

Justin Townes Earle plays at 10:00 PM on Saturday, March 27 at the Gladish Auditorium.

Country music fans among our readers and listeners may recognize two parts of this Birds on a Wire performer’s name. Justin Townes Earle’s father is Steve Earle, a country and Americana legend. The Townes comes from Townes Van Zandt, the tragic, preternaturally gifted, and highly influential country/folk genius and close friend of Steve Earle.  But that’s just JTE’s name–what of his music?

It’s easy to throw around descriptors like Americana, alt-country, and folk, then apply an artist with a label and move on. I don’t think that’s appropriate for JTE. He is all of those things, and none of them. His songs rely on, and evoke a hundred years of American musical tradition while still maintaining originality and relevance. It might just be the Western shirts that lend him such credibility in my eyes, but it’s more likely due to his strong, distinctive vocal twang and straightforward yet sophisticated songwriting.

Either way, the end result is this: out of the entire festival, I’m looking forward to JTE’s performance the most.

-Evan

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