Just noting two (of many) great acts coming to town this week at The Grey Eagle. Justin Townes Earle is a personal favorite – his show last year at the Grey Eagle was, for me, one of the year’s best: personal, wrenching and uplifting all at once. He’s playing Tuesday. On Thursday, it’s Amy LaVere, another talent who is heading for some down-time later this year, so this will be a last chance to see her live before she takes a touring break.
Justin Townes Earle publicity
In 2012, Justin Townes Earle released his fourth full-length studio album, Nothing’s Gonna Change the Way You Feel About Me Now.
Produced by Earle alongside longtime collaborator Skylar Wilson, the 10-track album was recorded completely live with no overdubs over a 4-day period at an old converted church recording studio in Asheville, NC. Of the new record, Earle comments, “I think that it’s the job of the artist to be in transition and constantly learn more. The new record is completely different than my last one, Harlem River Blues. This time I’ve gone in a Memphis-soul direction.”
On tour in support of her 2011 release Stranger Me (Archer Records), produced by Greg Silvey (Arcade Fire) and on her 2012 collaboration with Shannon McNally, Chasing the Ghost. Amy has recently completed another EP collaboration with John Paul Keith, titled Motel Mirrors, expected to release in August. She is also finishing up another new solo album which should come out later this year or top of 2014.
Watch the video for Amy’s new single “This Bridge.”
Stranger Me features Amy on the upright bass and vocals. The album’s soundscape is alternately haunting and exuberantly defiant, and creates a perfect backdrop for a collection of songs about frustration and feeling emotionally disconnected. NPR called the album “the sound of a songwriter struggling with love and loss, and emerging more confident in her own abilities.
I chatted with LaVere last week. She had just returned home to Memphis after a long road trip, and she was in full-on chore mode. She said she had a list of things a mile long to take care of before leaving again, not the least of which was to clean the “rolling funk dumpster” of a band van.
LaVere has a new EP set for release in August. She said the sound is “timeless in that early country and rock-and-roll vein. Sonically, it’s straightforward and adorable. I don’t know how else to say it. It’s so universally lovable. I tend to go a little bit weird. I think this will have broad appeal,” she said.
LaVere, who, the last time she was in Asheville, opened for the recently deceased blues man T Model Ford at the Grey Eagle, said she’s excited to be back in Asheville, where audiences are attentive.
“I’m brining my new band out. It’s my long-time drummer and one of the best guitar players on the planet, Will Sexton, Charlie Sexton’s brother.”