Justin Townes Earle (from the album Kids in the Street)

A triangle can be traced with the jagged lines that connect the titles of the last three album releases from Justin Townes Earle. His recent release, Kids in the Street, is third point of a trilogy that pulls together his previous efforts, Single Mothers (2014) and Absent Fathers (2015). Kids in the Streets never becomes an audio-biography for Justin Townes Earle though there are hints as in the title track where time gets turned back to an eleven year-old JTE in 1993, a possible teen memory that packs adventure on four wheels headed to Memphis, Tennessee with “Maybe a Moment”, and a universal journey that chronicles a decade between “15 – 25” that sees the life that takes children into early adulthood ‘in the wind, strung out like a kite’ as pieces of personal histories flash by in the story line.

Pounding drumbeats, reverbed guitar chords, and a solid bass line hit the highway in album opener “Champagne Corolla” while Justin Townes Earle strums as hopes dim in “Faded Valentine”, whispers threats over a dark melody with “If I Was the Devil”, and picks Folk Blues on the porch of the Rodeway Inn with “Same Old Stagolee”. Kids in the Streets assembles another fine collection of songs from Justin Townes Earle as the singer makes a wish-list with “Short Hair Woman”, drops change from his Americana tunes into a honky tonk jukebox with “What’s She Crying For”, slowly points on a rolling rhythm for “There Goes a Fool”, sets out a rumbling beat in “Trouble Is”, and goes solo with a simple backing of man and guitar for a cover of Paul Simon’s “Graceland”.

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