Justin Townes Earle
Family dynasties in country music are surely nothing new — but just as surely as Steve Earle has blazed a trail of bracingly honest songcraft and life experience that could never be conjured by a Music Row publicist, so too has Justin Townes Earle fought on the frontlines of alt-country, Americana and those no-man’s-lands between the relative safety of the stylistic pigeonholes. Named for iconic rebel Townes Van Zandt; born in Nashville (but never necessarily of it), Justin Townes Earle nonetheless has style to spare — a sensibility that’s landed him on GQ’s list of “style stars,” and that’s made him every lanky inch the stranger at large in the wilds of New York City. As many thousands of fans also realize, JTE backs up that easy style with some hard skills — a beyond-his-years musical wisdom and a guitar/vocal technique that’s allowed him to wow audiences variously characterized as “bluegrass,” “Americana,” “blues,” “folk” and “alternative.” Touring behind his 2012 Bloodshot Records release Nothing’s Gonna Change the Way You Feel About Me Now, Earle returns to Monmouth County for his first area theater show, on the Pollak stage at Monmouth. Opening for JTE will be soulful singer-songwriter Tift Merritt.