CD reviews for 5/14/08 – Justin Townes Earle, Malcolm Holcombe

Compact Capsules for 05/14/08
by Dan Ferguson

Justin Townes Earle
The Good Life
Bloodshot Records BS-151

His middle name is Townes and surname Earle. You guess who his dad is? On his Bloodshot Records debut, Nashville-based Justin Townes Earle demonstrates talent is in the bloodlines. Rather than the rough and tumble roots rock of daddy, the younger Earle leans towards the throwback side of Southern music. Possessing an unadorned voice on the scale of an Ernest Tubb, Earle’s The Good Life mixes country shuffles, bluesy swing and folky ballads and is Opry-ish in its old school presentation. Just in his 20s, Earle on The Good Life timelessly channels the honky tonk past as if a fly on the wall in the heyday of the old Ryman. (Visit

Malcolm Holcombe
Gamblin’ House
Echo Mountain Records ARGA006

One glance at Malcolm Holcombe and you get the feeling life hasn’t been an easy one. Unkempt with a gravely voice ravaged by nicotine, his way with words minces nothing. One moment he’s wearing his heart on his sleeve in song fingerpicking a beautiful melody on his acoustic (“Baby Likes a Love Song”) and the next lashing out like a firestorm (“Evelyn”). Gamblin’ House is a riveting batch of rustic vignettes wordsmithed from way deep in the soul, Holcombe’s soul. Recommended. (Visit – Dan Ferguson

(Dan Ferguson is a free-lance music writer and host of The Boudin Barndance, broadcast Thursday nights from 6 – 9 pm on WRIU-FM 90.3. He lives in Peace Dale and can be reached at [email protected].)<...