Written by Samuel Barker
May 07, 2009 at 09:00 PM
ImageHard to believe it has already been a year since I first saw Justin Townes Earle at Warehouse Live. In that time, Earle has released a new album, Midnight at the Movies, and criss-crossed the country playing dates by himself and supporting some fine acts. Tonight, he came to town in support of Old Crow Medicine Show.

My experience with Old Crow Medicine Show has been a few cuts being played on friends’ stereos. I knew Wagon Wheel and Methamphetamine, but had no idea what I would see on the stage on this night.

Impressed is an understatement of how I felt upon seeing them. The energy, instrument changes, playing prowess and overall entertainment was amazing. Folk songs with bluegrass mixed in and a rock n’ roll energy, that is best way to describe it. The songs took on a living role in the set as each instrumentalist took time to shine throughout the set and display their talents.

The only band I had ever seen before that came close to capturing this vibe was The Hackensaw Boys. Music like this has been lost on this generation for the most part, but folks like Old Crow Medicine Show are bringing it to the masses.

And judging from the size of the audience on this night, they’re bringing it to quite a few people every night. Let’s hope it keeps up.

ImageIf you were not aware of your location and the current date, you would swear the world rolls back 50 years every time Justin Townes Earle hits the stage. Backed again on this visit by Corey Yount on mandolin, banjo and harmonica, Earle mixed up his two albums bring everyone back a bit to the old country/folk sound.

One of the standout parts of Earle’s set is his fingerpicking style. I recognize the sound from old recordings, but in my years covering shows, I have never seen anything like it in person. The picking gives the songs a bounce and busy sound despite only two instruments going.

While I have been lukewarm to Midnight at the Movies since hearing it, the live performance of a few cuts made the songs fit right in with The Good Life. My Mother’s Eyes was gorgeous. Hearing Someday I’ll Be Forgiven for This right after If You Ain’t Glad I’m Leaving worked wonderfully.

Justin Townes Earle is one of my favorite new artists out there. The copy of The Good Life I bought directly from his hands last year has made the rounds through most of my friends and currently sits in its taped up, ragged glory amongst my favorite CDs. You should definitely check him out when he comes to your town.