Country boy shares his love for Australia

A regular visitor to our shores - his current tour is his sixth in four years - Justin Townes Earle says Australians remind him of the folks from his own corner of the US.

"My friends over here, I kind of get the idea they are a lot like people where I come from in the south-eastern United States," Earle says.

"We're kind of isolated and misunderstood but we love to have a good time and if people would take a minute to understand us, they would love us."

Nashville-born and raised, Earle's past two albums, Harlem River Blues and Nothing's Gonna Change the Way You Feel About Me Now, have brought him success at home, but he credits Australia for that.

"Australia is highly responsible for the fact that I am as successful as I am in the States these days," he says.

"For the past four years it has really been where I made my most money. Some of my best crowds in the world are in this country."

Despite his country music pedigree - his father is singer-songwriter Steve Earle and he was named after the legendary Townes Van Zandt - Earle's own music is usually described as "Americana", drawing on folk, blues, bluegrass, rockabilly and, on his most recent album, Memphis soul.

"I love country music and I always will," he says. "But I wouldn't like somebody who wanted to do the things that I did with my career who labelled themselves as country, you know?

"I made a conscious effort to veer away from the hard honky tonk thing. That was really the point where I figured out I was better at being a collector of American music, an archivist, than I was being a country music artist."

He credits his upbringing for his eclectic tastes.

"That's one thing about being raised by single mothers who were musicians or had some sort of connection to the music business," Earle says.

"Our mothers had particularly good record collections."

Having dabbled with soul on his latest album, Earle plans to dabble further next time in the studio.

"My next record, I've basically already hired my horn players and my background singers. I'm going to push an earlier '60s, like more of a Ray Charles and the Cookies Atlantic sound for this next record.

"But keep it dirty, keep it Memphis dirty."

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