WHEN your dad is Steve Earle and you take part of your name from Townes Van Zandt, there is a lot to live up to.
But Justin Townes Earle has already emerged as fine singer-songwriter and upholder of the country/blues/folk tradition in his own right.
In time-honoured fashion, it was just him and a guitar and a collection of songs befitting his parentage and mentor.
He confessed early on to a weakness for women and fried chicken. Well, the latter featured prominently, as did material from his excellent new album, Harlem River Blues.
The title track stood out in its sparse format, just as it does on the album fleshed out with a band. And songs don’t come much better than Learning To Cry, its care-worn simplicity suggesting it could be a classic written many years ago.
The voice has a good edge, the playing has a metronomic precision and songs are sometimes ended forcefully with a single stamp of the foot.
Justin Townes Earl has had his problems. This date was rearranged from one scheduled last year for the Polish Club in Ecclesall Road because he went into rehab to kick a drugs habit.
Well, there’s another tradition he has been upholding. Still, his experiences have no doubt helped to shape the man and the musician who can connect with his father’s and now own generation.
Not many songs about fried chicken, though.