Album Review: Nothing’s Gonna Change The Way You Feel About Me Now Justin Townes Earle

24 March 2012 | 4:59 pm | Staff Writer

Recorded live over four days with no overdubs, this is an album that sounds fresh, immediate and welcoming.

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Justin Townes Earle has made a habit of changing it up on each of his three albums. Now Earle has shifted geographically south-west to Memphis and painted his songs with references to the city, its moods and most importantly its sound.

Recorded live over four days with no overdubs, this is an album that sounds fresh, immediate and welcoming. The lack of overdubs means there is plenty of space for instruments to find their place in the mix and allow Earle's plaintiff vocals to take centre-stage. He sounds more relaxed than ever with none of the speed freak intensity of delivery that one experiences at his live shows. Instead he serenades the fairer sex on Maria and Unfortunately, Anna, bemoans loneliness on Am I That Lonely Tonight?, and laments lost opportunities with quite a world-weary tone to his voice.

Memphis is lyrically represented on the gorgeous horn and organ-led Down On The Lower East Side and Memphis In The Rain, where he takes the listener on a journey through the city looking for love. Horns play a prominent role in the sound of the album, giving it a soul flavour and providing a textured balance with its starker moments. That balance is key to a record that only clocks in at half an hour, yet within that short time we get ten songs, all of them of the highest quality. Earle has refined his style and distilled it to its essence, making Nothing's Gonna Change The Way You Feel About Me Now his best yet. It is a beautiful album of country soul that finds Earle reaching his most natural and genuine musical destination.

Chris Familton



Length: 10 tracks, 31 minutes

Moods: Lonely, reflective, romantic


• Justin is the son of maverick Texas songwriter Stever Earle (and carries the middle name of his dad's mentor, Townes Van Zandt). He shares a hint of his father's style in his voice and like the elder Earle, he writes his own songs. Though both artists fall into the country-style of writing, there are more differences in their musical approaches than there are similarities.

• Justin Townes Earle won the 2011 Americana Music Award for Song Of The Year, which acknowledged a turbulent and hard-working 12 months. The year also saw other notable achievements including his debut performance at New York's Carnegie Hall and on The Late Show with David Letterman.

• This new record is completely different to Earle's earlier works, as he explains: “The new record is completely different than my last one, Harlem River Blues. This time I've gone in a Memphis-soul direction.” Earle is known for shooting off in different directions with each album, due to his list of eclectic influences.

• The ten-track album was recorded with longtime collaborator Skylar Wilson, completely live with no overdubs and in a church.