Live Music: Older, wiser Justin

singer-songwriter Justin Townes Earle
singer-songwriter Justin Townes Earle

For the uninitiated, clues to the musical grounding of Americana singer-songwriter Justin Townes Earle are in the name.

He is the son of seasoned country/rock performer and three-time Grammy award winner Steve Earle and there is a gracious nod to his father’s celebrated mentor, Townes van Zandt.

If Justin Townes Earle emerged from a familiar musical school, he has also managed to carve his own distinctive niche since his first recording 10 years ago.

And he has developed a reputation for stirring live performances.

He has brought his authentic brand of alt-country and blues to Sheffield on a number of occasions and returns on Sunday (July 2) with an appearance at the Memorial Hall.

The local date is part of a European tour on which he is accompanied by long-time guitarist/pedal steel player Paul Niehaus.

There’s a new album, his eighth, Kids In The Street, to showcase, and one that Earle says reflects the new-found confidence and clarity that comes with sobriety, getting married and looking forward to fatherhood.

Like his own father, Justin Townes Earles has battled some ferocious demons, with numerous stints in rehab.

Now there’s a determination to cast off the personal troubles and hell-raising reputation that have clung to him since being a teenager – without losing the lyrical and musical spark that marks him out as a fine writer and musician.

“These songs were definitely from somebody who’s more clearheaded and married, for sure.

“I think that I do see things from a more calm and lucid perspective these days, and that has a lot to do with my wife,” the 35-year-old told Billboard magazine about the new album.

As if to emphasise a new direction in both his personal and professional life, Earle recorded an album outside Nashville for the first time, turning to producer, Mike Mogis in Nebraska.

There’s also a new label, New West Records.

To put things in context, the American has reflected: “One day I just realised it’s not cool to die young, and it’s even less cool to die after 30.”

l Former Brian Jonestown Massacre collaborator Miranda Lee Richards appears at Regather Sheffield in Sharrow tomorrow on a tour to promote her latest album, Existential Beast.

The LA-based singer has a characteristic 1970s-influenced, country-tinged psychedelic sound.

The album was recorded with her husband, producer Rick Parker, best known for his work with BRMC (Black Rebel Motorcycle Club).

The track Lucid I Would Dream was featured by DJ Lauren Laverne on her BBC 6 Music show earlier this year.

Miranda describes Existential Beast as a political album, examining the issues of our time, tackling difficult and taboo subjects in a poetic and heartfelt manner.

She said: “In varying degrees, we are all still working with the animal urges of fear, competition, survival and sexuality that are deep-seated and manifesting in different ways, depending on where people are at.”

Her support acts are the ‘otherworldly’ Leeds-based duo Zealous Doxy and 
mellow West Coast folk rocker Bobby Lee.

Tickets: regather.net/whats-on/