The small Mojo's stage was filled by Perth mainstays The Little Lord Street Band, who churned out a set of alt-country tunes to kick off the night. Arriving on stage unaccompanied, Justin Townes Earle launched straight into the ripping Flint City Shake It, from his 2019 record The Saint Of Lost Causes. The lonely lyrics of One More Night In Brooklyn – Townes Earle’s candid anti-ode to the New York City borough – and the eerie Frightened By The Sound soon followed.
The edgy flavour of Hard Livin’ harked back to his younger years where Earle lived a rather fast and ‘indulgent’ life, which he described sincerely and rather entertainingly between songs. Then the touching reality of the emotive Mama’s Eyes summed up the musician’s relationship with his mother, in contrast to the tenuous one with his father, country-rock icon Steve Earle.
Earle is a master of the Travis picking technique, executed as if he were playing two guitars simultaneously. He showed off his skill through the mind-blowing rawness of They Killed John Henry, an epic, axe-galloping number from his second studio album, Midnight At The Movies. At one moment, the rangy Tennessean winced and yelled expletives about the callouses on his strumming fingers.