Nothing's Gonna Change The Way You Feel About Me Now
A gorgeous, sometimes lush sometimes sparse, paean to the soul of Memphis.
Of this record, JTE explains, “I think that it’s the job of the artist to be in transition and constantly learn more. The new record is completely different than my last one, Harlem River Blues. This time I’ve gone in a Memphis-soul direction.”
Produced by Earle alongside longtime collaborator Skylar Wilson, the album was recorded completely live with no overdubs over a 4-day period at an old converted church recording studio in Asheville, NC. His band is, as always, a top-flight collection of like-minded compadres. Paul Niehaus (Calexico, Iron & Wine, Lambchop) on guitar and steel, Bryn Davies (Jack White's Peacocks, Guy Clark) on bass, the indominable Cory Younts on lotsa stuff and Amanda Shires on vocals and fiddle.
From the first track, one senses a deeper shade of soul from JTE. "Am I That Lonely Tonight?" and "Look the Other Way" are the brimming with weariness, despite the warmth of the subdued horn section. Loss imbues the title track and the Chet Baker via Bob Dylan "Down on the Lower East Side." The man's head is hanging low; it's a big city, but all he's seeing is his shoes. "Won't Be the Last Time" and "Unfortunately Anna" are sparse confessionals, it's just him, you and his stories. Intimate and striking.
It's not all downcast though, "Baby's Got A Bad Idea" is a hopped up gem that John Hiatt would be proud to have in his canon and "Memphis in the Rain," despite the imagery, is a nice civic bookend to his last album's masterpiece "Harlem River Blues."