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An Intimate Evening With Justin Townes Earle - Learning His New Songs and Remembering the Old Ones

Night two of JTE's March residency at Doug Fir!

An Intimate Evening With Justin Townes Earle - Learning His New Songs and Remembering the Old Ones

Chuck Westmoreland

Sat, March 25

Doors: 8:00 pm / Show: 9:00 pm

Doug Fir Lounge

Portland, OR

$14.00 - $16.00

This event is 21 and over

This is a mostly seated show. Standing room only once all seats are taken. Separate ticket is needed for each night of JTE's residency. 

Justin Townes Earle
Justin Townes Earle
Fresh off the success of his recently released album, Single Mothers, Justin Townes Earle announced the companion album Absent Fathers to be released January 13, 2015. Also comprised of 10 tracks, Absent Fathers was recorded alongside Single Mothers as a double album, but as Justin began to sequence it, he felt each half needed to make its own statement and they took on their own identities. A complete track list can be found below.
In describing Single Mothers, NPR describes the album as "...mov[ing] between evocative portraits of place set in knotty emotional frames, prickly confessions of destructive patterns, and melancholic eloquence in the wake of short-lived love affairs." The Sun UK hailed the album, noting "Justin's songcraft is fast maturing and this is a concise exercise in laying emotions bare," while No Depression summed up Justin's career by saying " No longer needing to beg for attention, he's built a career that's brought him critical acclaim and a well-deserved reputation for consistent artistic integrity."
Single Mothers was released on September 9, 2014 via Vagrant Records and, combined with Absent Fathers, the double album perfectly showcases exactly why Justin Townes Earle is considered a forefather of Contemporary Americana.
Once compared to a man who wears many suits, in thirty-two short years Justin Townes Earle has experienced more than most, both personally and professionally. Between releasing four full-length-critically-acclaimed albums, constant touring, multiple stints in rehab, a new found sobriety, being born Steve Earle's son, amicable and not-so-amicable break-ups with record labels, and facing the trials and tribulations of everyday life, it's safe to say JTE has quite the story to tell. His fifth album (and first ever on Vagrant Records) serves as the perfect platform for such narrations.
As a recently married, sober man JTE writes from a point of maturity and content we've not seen before on past records. "One day I just realized it's not cool to die young, and it's even less cool to die after 30," Justin states as he reflects on a life past and his newly found clarity. What he's created is material that's raw, honest and personal in a way he hasn't touched upon since his debut EP, Yuma.
Co-produced along side longtime engineer Adam Bednarik, Single Mothers and Absent Fathers shine in a world of pop-culture driven Americana records. "I don't really know what Americana means anymore," Justin laughs. "That's not a slant on Americana, it's just become a very unclassifiable genre. It's gone seemingly pop. There are good parts to that, but it's getting to a point where it won't be able to redeem itself if it doesn't slow down. Just like everything that gets popular." With his heart and soul still rooted in Nashville, Single Mothers and Absent Fathers show Justin's continued combination of catchy songs and authenticity.
The albums were recorded live with his four-piece touring band with only days of rehearsal leading up to recording to keep the ideas fresh. No overdubs, no other singers, no additional players – just a real, heartfelt performance capturing the moment. In fact, his songs "Picture in a Drawer" and "It's Cold in This House" are only Justin, his guitar and his pedal steel player Paul Niehaus.
"As I've gotten older my anger comes from a very different place. It's more rational and mature. I guess that comes along with clarity," JTE reflects. Single Mothers and Absent Fathers find Justin dealing with past struggles and anger with more ease than ever before. Creating a nostalgic feeling with the return to his signature sound, JTE takes listeners on a journey through some of his most personal stories yet on what can only be described as an authentic country records.
Chuck Westmoreland
Chuck Westmoreland
Eight years ago you would’ve seen Chuck Westmoreland onstage, a busted sprinkler head of awkward and endearing gyrations, gesticulations, and sweat who came, as he put it then, to “rock [your] balls off.”
Eight years ago he would’ve been preaching psycho-sexual pop songs with his band, The Kingdom. Singing conceptually interconnected, insanely catchy nuggets about cars, gender metamorphosis, Dog Day Afternoon, and—somehow—Johnny Unitas in a warbling falsetto caught somewhere between the pearly gates and a truck stop.
Eight years ago. Before he walked away from it all. Before marriage. Before his wife’s cancer fight brought him to his knees. Before the birth of his first child chiseled away whatever remained of that almost-famous man that used to bounce around under the spotlight.
Nearly a decade later, Westmoreland returns with his self-titled solo debut, a powerful album that takes his gift for character sketches and deconstructions and turns the focus squarely, and unblinkingly, on himself.
Chuck Westmoreland is not only a history of his eight-year rock ‘n’ roll sabbatical, but a departure from rock ‘n’ roll entirely. Westmoreland’s work with The Kingdom—hailed by everyone from Spin and The Onion’s A.V. Club to Portland’s dueling alt-weeklies—existed in an ephemeral flight of pop fancy. Chuck Westmoreland has four appendages firmly planted in the unforgiving muck and mire of real life.
“The songs are about the lyrics more than anything else,” Westmoreland explains. “I’m trying to tell personal stories that reveal something terrible, familiar, and hopeful to the listener.”
Owing more to Gordon Lightfoot than Guided by Voices, Chuck Westmoreland shears away all outré influences for a singer-songwriter’s lunch pail full of bare-knuckle blood and guts. Much like Springsteen turned his back on street-racing anthems for noir Heartland story telling on Nebraska, Westmoreland gets to the gritty business of life and death and loss on his solo debut. These aren’t songs about leaving and transformation; these are songs about sticking around in the face of tragedy, setting your feet, and fighting. Bones are cracked open and marrow spooned out with dirty fingers: the good, the bad, and the frustratingly in-between.
Sometimes that darkness is lathered up with sweet, warm harmonies, and slow-rolling rhythms (“Pattern in the Blood”), sometimes it’s laid bare in a creaking, near death rattle (“The Clouds Beyond Us Carry Rain”)…and sometimes it’s clubbed over the head with a beer bottle in the heat of a honky-tonk brawl (“Satin”). It’s a riveting journey that at once pulls influences from the high water mark of late-70s singer-songwriters, while sounding in narrative lockstep alongside the current stars of country’s literary revival.
“All these songs are about the character trying to recover something that has been taken from them,” Westmoreland says. “Or the character trying to understand some horrible thing they’ve been given to deal with.”
In Westmoreland’s case, dealing with horrible things means releasing one of the best albums of the year.