| BS 178

Harlem River Blues

Vinyl LP out of stock

NOTE: Due to overwhelming demand of JTE titles, limit 2 copies of each album/format per customer

A record that’s perfect for late Indian summer nights on either the front porch or fire escape, Justin’s found yet another way to be a timeless original. As versed in Mance Lipscomb as he is in M. Ward.

Full Description

Justin Townes Earle is an anomaly. He’s tall as the day is long, all angles and elbows and a hard stare, both welcoming and deadly serious. He’s Nashville North, all set up in lower Manhattan now, just like his hero Woody Guthrie, with twang and charm intact.

The aforementioned Woody Guthrie once said, “Any fool can make something complicated. It takes a genius to make it simple.” On Harlem River Blues, Justin chose the simple route. The record’s not a wall of sound produced to the rafters. It’s rockin’ and reelin’ at times, sweet and slow at others—and it’s great. Like good fried chicken, a well-cut suit and a handmade guitar, there’s heaven to be found in the beautifully crafted simpler things.

Compared to the much-lauded Midnight at the Movies, Harlem River Blues is more mature and increasingly nuanced, while still embracing the raw voice and clean sound of previous standout tracks like “Mama’s Eyes.” Harlem River Blues kicks off hot with the title track’s choir of backing singers and electric guitar, slow dances through a decrepit tenement on “One More Night in Brooklyn,” and swings à la Jerry Lee Lewis on “Move Over Mama.” “Working for the MTA” is a modern day railway ballad, embracing the labor movement in classic folk singer style over some heartbreaking pedal steel from Calexico’s Paul Niehaus. With percussive guitar, killer standup bass lines by Bryn Davies and a guest appearance from Jason Isbell, this record hums along like a 6 train jumpin’ the tracks and heading straight for the Tennessee state line.


Short Description
  • A voice crying from some distant reverb of misfortune, and chilled with the lethal kind of conviction that moves mountains.

    — The Independent UK
  • HRB is the record he's long threatened to make, taking things to a higher level with a stunning blend of styles.

    — The Sun (UK)
  • Justin Townes Earle is Justin Townes Earle, so any comparison with other Americana singer-songwriters, old or young is futile.  This album has a timeless grace to it and is a massive leap forward.

    — Maverick
  • Earle has a knack for crafting songs that sound timeless, like you have to check that he actually wrote them rather than dusted them off from some forgotten 78 rpm.

    — East Bay Express
  • An album I wanted to play again as soon as it was done.

    — MOJO
  • As strong as his first two albums have been, it always seemed as if Justin Townes Earle was holding something back… it was hard not to suspect that someone as talented as he is could do even more. On Harlem River Blues, the singer-songwriter proves those suspicions were well-founded.

    — American Songwriter
  • It is Earle's authority across the board that marks him out..the ride is plain exhilarating.

    — BBC
  • A voice crying from some distant reverb of misfortune, and chilled with the letal kind of conviction that moves mountains.

    — The Independent UK

Track List

  • 1. Harlem River Blues
  • 2. One More Night In Brooklyn
  • 3. Move Over Mama
  • 4. Working For The MTA
  • 5. Wanderin'
  • 6. Slippin' And Slidin'
  • 7. Christchurch Woman
  • 8. Learning To Cry
  • 9. Ain't Waitin'
  • 10. Rogers Park
  • 11. Harlem River Blues (reprise)


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