Northern Star column, 3/5/2010

After his performance at Bluesfest I’ve been listening to nothing but Justin Townes Earle. Apart from Christian Pyle, Wilco and Lucie Thorne, of course. Son of Steve Earle, Justin is named for Townes Van Zandt, who was equally, a trader in traditional blues, folk and country-based narrative, flipped on its back and twisted into a strange and compelling beast.

A tall, skinny, oddly bobbing and quietly hilarious showman Townes Earle may be, but what he does with these revered genres was as startling at Bluesfest, in cahoots with ex-Drive By Truckers cohort Jason Isbell, as it is on record, Midnight at the Movies.

Another great record on high rotation is the aforementioned Pyle’s Nothing Left to Burn, on Mullumbimby label Vitamin. Pyle played every note himself on this astonishing landmark of laconic, avant garde, post-electro rural pop (gulp), produced with as much painstaking verve as his other new release with his band Ghost Mountain.

Meanwhile, breaking news from Lismore is that the Celibate Rifles, Australia’s punk prototypes, have just been confirmed for Mazstock on May 22, at the Italo Club. Promoter, Sideshow Bridge, is missing, presumed delirious.

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