Posts Tagged ‘The Saint Of Lost Causes’

When you are a fan of an artist for a long period of time; consisting of multiple albums; it is natural to have you favorites and albums that you never play. Most people favour the early albums; Justin Townes Earle is one of those artists for me. While I really liked his album, Kids In The Street, I almost always find myself reaching for the older stuff. But I’m here to say that The Saint of Lost Causes is among his best work to date, his voice never sounding better. For his eighth album, Justin turned his gaze out – toward the state of America. Like the excellent,The Seduction of Kansas by Priests, Justin Townes Earle isn’t hitting you over the head with his rage. His imagery is pointed, yet subtle enough to requiring the listener to really listen.

The Saint Of Lost Causes is the 8th album from American roots troubadour, Justin Townes Earle. Earle’s latest album finds a songwriter and artist who is unflinching and unequivocal in his truth. When writing this album, Earle focused on a different America – the disenfranchised and the downtrodden, the oppressed and the oppressors, the hopeful and the hopeless. There’s the drugstore-cowboy-turned-cop-killer praying for forgiveness (Appalachian Nightmare) and the common Michiganders persevering through economic and industrial devastation (Flint City Shake It); the stuck mother dreaming of a better life on the right side of the California tracks (Over Alameda) and the Cuban man in New York City weighed down by a world of regret (Ahi Esta Mi Nina); the used up soul desperate to get to New Orleans (Ain’t Got No Money) and the sons of bitches in West Virginia poisoning the land and sea (Don’t Drink the Water). These are individuals and communities in every corner of the country, struggling through the ordinary and sometimes extraordinary circumstances of everyday life.

Over the course of the dozen tracks, Justin Townes Earle paints little stories of Americans that are getting left behind in this current shitstorm. He isn’t shy in pointing out his targets. It’s a powerful album digging so much deeper than the horrible outcome of a dead policeman.

Releasing such an outward looking album after the deeply personal and inward looking Kids In The Street was a nice touch. And he absolutely nailed it.

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Justin Townes Earle – Vocals, Acoustic Guitar
Adam Bednarik – Upright Bass, Electric Bass
Joe V. McMahan – Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Slide Guitar, Baritone Guitar, Celeste
Paul Niehaus – Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Pedal Steel
Jon Radford – Drums, Percussion
Cory Younts – Harmonica, Wurlitzer, Piano, Fender Rhodes, Background Vocals

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A few lines and a guitar lick are all Justin Townes Earle needs on “Ain’t Got No Money,” the shifty roots rocker that will be featured on his just-announced LP The Saint of Lost Causes.

Something of a return to the familiar for Earle, The Saint of Lost Causes sees him reunited with longtime producer Adam Bednarik in Nashville after venturing out to Omaha, Nebraska, to record 2017’s Kids in the Streets with Mike Mogis of Bright Eyes. “Ain’t Got No Money” is lean and wiry, built around a locked-in riff that calls to mind James McMurtry’s “Choctaw Bingo” and never loses step with Earle’s bitten-off, occasionally slurred vocal about trying to find the cash to make it to New Orleans. “Give me some money or just leave me alone,” he sings in the refrain, over a panting harmonica that wails through the song’s middle fifth.

Due to be the second of 12 songs on The Saint of Lost Causes‘ running order, “Ain’t Got No Money” and its pared-down arrangement suggests a different direction from the fleshed-out, full-band approach of Kids in the Street, which centered around more personal tales inspired by Music City, his hometown. Earle and Bednarik cut the album at Sound Emporium in Nashville.

From the new album ‘The Saint Of Lost Causes,’ available May 24th