Midnight at the Movies
LP includes a digital download version of the album
Within the first song, you just know you’re hearing something special, that you are party to the unknown and exhilarating paths being explored by an artist on the creative ascendancy.
Roams o’er the vast landscape of American music without so much as a stumble.
Within the first song on Justin Townes Earle’s second album, you just know you’re hearing something special, that you are party to the unknown and exhilarating paths being explored by an artist on the creative ascendancy. Midnight At The Movies displays an adeptness and musical sophistication of remarkable, organic breadth and is as lyrically sharp as a lover’s tongue as she is walking out the door.
If you didn’t look at the songwriting credits, you’d swear the songs were penned on the stoop of a one-pump filling station in dust bowl era Oklahoma, the smoke-filled song and dream factories of Tin Pan Alley, or at the back door of Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge in Nashville. Justin effortlessly taps the romanticism imbued in the beaten-soled travelogues and mythos of Woody Guthrie; the lounging around a campfire at a work camp and the edgy angst of a wintry Minneapolis (yeah, just try to get that mandolin line from the cover of the Replacements “Can’t Hardly Wait” out of your head.)
Midnight at the Movies is held firm by Justin’s astonishing vision and conviction, yet roams o’er the vast landscape of American music without so much as a stumble. From the deft ear for orchestration and ambient arrangement reminiscent of Randy Newman right through, somehow, the countrypolitan cool of Lambchop and hipster retro vibes of Palace Brothers or Magnetic Fields (simply look to the title track for proof), to the amber smooth swing of the Ray Price smilin’ thru the heartache school of country (“What I Mean To You,” “Poor Fool”), to the immediacy and disarming simplicity of country blues (“They Killed John Henry”), to songs that tell a novel’s worth of emotion in a few lines (“Mama’s Eyes”), Justin Townes Earle pulls it all off with a confidence and candor that tells the listener that the daring exhibited on his debut album The Good Life only hinted at the growth to come.