Steve Earle – Townes (8/10)

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As its title suggests, Earle’s new album is a tribute to the late great Townes Van Zandt, comprised of a career-spanning selection of fifteen cover versions. Waster, musical visionary, and Texan to his core, Van Zandt was a friend and mentor to Earle and, while very much his own, Earle’s gruff, mumbling interpretations stay completely faithful to the spirit of the originals.

In fact, from the bluegrass of White Freightliner Blues and Don’t Take It Too Bad, to the Dust Brothers-produced squall of Lungs, it feels as if Earle has inhabited these songs his whole life. Earle’s wife Allison Moorer, son Justin Townes Earle, and Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello all guest.

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