Posted October 7, 2014 by Carolyn Sabin in Show Reviews

Justin Townes Earle, American Aquarium // 9-30-14 // Wonder Ballroom

20140930JustinTownesEarleFeaturedThe 21-and-over crowd at the Wonder Ballroom milled around the venue until the lights went down and American Aquarium took the stage.

The band had an old country band appearance complete with plaid flannels and cowboy boots. The lead singer and guitarist, BJ Barham, sang with conviction while often closing his eyes. It was almost as though the pain and sadness he sang about was oozing out of him. Many songs were about divorce, drug use or other unhappy topics, however they never gave off a depressing vibe.

The six-man band from North Carolina had two guitarists and a steel guitar player. Their bassist, Bill Corbin, played the slide bass and really jammed during his several solos. The crowd quickly warmed up to the band and by the end of their performance it was clear that on-lookers were sad to see them go. They were truly a band which deserves a second look.

Justin Townes Earle’s band took the stage a few moments before him. The group seemed considerably older than Earle (the son of Steve Earle) but seemed fitting for his “old soul” demeanor.

Earle– like his father as well as his middle namesake and God-Father, Townes Van Zandt– has extraordinary song writing abilities that were on full display.  His short stories between songs seemed to hold a bit of sarcasm.

Much like the opening band, Justin Townes Earle pours all of his emotions into his performances. Towards the end of the set, he played the track “Single Mothers,” the title track off of his most recent album. Seeing Earle play is a musical experience to behold, his wisdom seems far beyond his 32 years of life.


Carolyn Sabin



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