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Speaker Box: Justin Townes Earle

And how to find new music



Justin Townes Earle photo courtesy Red Light Management

 


The first time I listened to “Maybe a Moment,” from last year’s Kids in the Street, I thought for sure it was Ryan Adams’ comeback single to his Whiskeytown roots. I was fooled - turns out it wasn’t Adams, it was Justin Townes Earle. Kids in the Street is a beautiful, brightly produced record that really showcases Earle’s pleasant voice and burgeoning songwriting.
 

For years, it seems, Earle has sought his own identity. Being the son of a roots rock rebel and enigma like Steve Earle probably didn’t help; being named after Townes Van Zandt probably ratcheted up the pressure. Toiling in alternative country and ragged bar bands from the beginning, Earle needed time to develop his voice and songwriting skills.

His singing voice of late is pure, and largely devoid of raspy twang. He writes about people and characters from real life and gives them empathy and understanding, like the kids in “Kids in the Street,” and the pretty little thing in the “Champagne Corolla.” The most telling thing about the Kids in the Street record is that the songs are hopeful, unlike his 2015 work Absent Fathers.

At 36, Earle is no longer a kid learning the ropes. Hopefully, this is a sign of continual growth and many years of great music to follow. Justin Townes Earle plays the Tower Theatre, 425 NW 23rd, on June 4. It’s billed as an all-ages show, with Lydia Loveless as the opening act. Tickets can be found at ticketfly.com.

 


 

► Old People

When I worked in a record store (remember them?), one of my greatest joys was introducing customers to new music. The best times were when I would be spinning something and a customer would just come up and ask, “What’s that playing?” It was an open invitation to a long, fruitful conversation, and usually a sale.

I recently audited my last year of music purchases. More than 75 percent of music I bought in 2017 was either established legacy artists, or re-issues. Admission: I’m ancient. I’m over 50! It’s difficult for me to wrap my hands and ears around new and developing artists. With record stores almost a thing of the past, how do you find new music these days?

Twitter: Twitter is a great resource for exposing new and developing artists. Follow music accounts @NME, and @Pitchfork. @RollingStone is also a great follow. Read the reviews and recommendations. Also, follow influential musicians. Most musicians know other musicians, and you can learn a lot by knowing their peers.

Go young: I had a lot of millennial and younger co-workers at my last job, and often talked to them about what they listened to. That’s how I heard about War on Drugs and St. Vincent. Talk to young people and they can learn a lot from you. FYI: Phil Collins never was a member of Led Zeppelin!

Pay attention: I was first exposed to Arcade Fire when I saw a poster on a graffiti wall in Bristol, England, in 2003. I also always check out the marquees for places such as The Tower Theatre (@TowerTheatreOKC) and Diamond Ballroom (@DiamondBallroom). If musicians are touring and can generate audiences at these places, then they are usually up-and-comers.

 


 


 

► JH Sings ONJ


When I first heard that Juliana Hatfield was doing a tribute record of Olivia Newton-John songs, I was a tad suspicious. ONJ produced some delicious songs made for radio, and her exquisite vocal range was unbelievable ear candy.
 

I was curious about Hatfield’s interpretations because I assumed they would be low-fi, grunge-guitar-focused pop-punk takes. I was dead wrong. Her versions of ONJ’s songs on Juliana Hatfield Sings Olivia Newton-John are sincere and accurate.

From the moody “Magic” to the perfection of auditory dream “Xanadu,” Hatfield delivers. It makes sense. She’s 50. She grew up an ONJ fan, and this is her chance to say, “I Honestly Love You.” Hatfield recognizes how special this recording project is by offering it up in vinyl and cassette formats. You can find out more at julianahatfield.com.

 

 

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Calendar

September 2018

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More than 20 speakers in a one-track session designed for the digital marketing professional, marketer, business owner or anyone interested in branding, PR, advertising, social media, SEO, search,...

Cost: $250

Where:
Tower Theatre
425 NW 23rd St
Oklahoma City, OK  73103
View map »


Sponsor: BigWing
Telephone: 405.475.4185
Contact Name: Janelle Archer
Website »

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This year will mark the eighth time the John F. Kennedy Awards have been celebrated, honoring individuals making a significant contribution to Oklahoma, its communities and its people, while paying...

Cost: $300

Where:
Skirvin Hilton Hotel
1 Park Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
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Sponsor: Santa Fe Family Life Center
Telephone: 405-840-1817
Contact Name: James Timberlake
Website »

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More than 20 speakers in a one-track session designed for the digital marketing professional, marketer, business owner or anyone interested in branding, PR, advertising, social media, SEO, search,...

Cost: $250

Where:
Tower Theatre
425 NW 23rd St
Oklahoma City, OK  73103
View map »


Sponsor: BigWing
Telephone: 405.475.4185
Contact Name: Janelle Archer
Website »

More information

Price Tower Art Gallery in Bartlesville will host Women Artists of the West's 48th annual juried art exhibition, featuring over 200 original art works, created by women in all mediums, subjects...

Cost: Free 2018-09-21,22,23

Where:
Price Tower Art Gallery
510 S. Dewey Ave.
Bartlesville, OK  74003
View map »


Sponsor: Price Tower Arts Center
Telephone: 918.336.4949
Contact Name: Angelina Bourgou
Website »

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Escape the ordinary, and learn about OKC from a different point of view. Relax in the climate controlled cabin on one of our 65’ cruisers, or enjoy the breeze on the viewing deck and listen...

Cost: $15 for Seniors and kids under 12, $20 Adults

Where:
Regatta Landing
701 S. Lincoln Blvd.
OKC, OK  73109
View map »


Telephone: 405.702.7755
Contact Name: Business Office
Website »

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A fabulous art auction to raise money to help support Oklahoma A+ Schools at UCO.

Cost: $100

Where:
CHK|Central Boathouse
732 Riversport Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73129
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Sponsor: Oklahoma A+ Schools at UCO
Telephone: 405.974.3791
Contact Name: Heather Bryant
Website »

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The evening Cocktail Cruise offers stunning views of the downtown skyline, the Boathouse District and Finish Line Tower, the Wheeler Ferris wheel and quite possibly an amazing Oklahoma sunset. Come...

Cost: $15 for Seniors and kids under 12, $20 Adults

Where:
Regatta Landing
701 S. Lincoln Blvd.
OKC, OK  73109
View map »


Telephone: 405.702.7755
Contact Name: Business Office
Website »

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Join supporters in communities across the nation for the St. Jude Walk/Run to End Childhood Cancer during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. This family-friendly event raises funds to support the...

Cost: $10 for adults or children six and older

Where:
Stars and Stripes Park
3701 S. Lake Hefner Drive
Oklahoma City , OK  73116
View map »


Telephone: 405.403.7762
Contact Name: Emily Drover
Website »

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Let’s end childhood cancer. Together! This September, supporters across the country will unite to participate in the St. Jude Walk/Run to End Childhood Cancer, an exciting, family-friendly...

Cost: $10 for Registration

Where:
Stars and Stripes Park
3701 S Lake Hefner Dr
Oklahoma City, OK  73116
View map »


Sponsor: ALSAC St. Jude Oklahoma City
Telephone: 405.403.7762
Contact Name: Emily Drover
Website »

More information

Price Tower Art Gallery in Bartlesville will host Women Artists of the West's 48th annual juried art exhibition, featuring over 200 original art works, created by women in all mediums, subjects...

Cost: Free 2018-09-21,22,23

Where:
Price Tower Art Gallery
510 S. Dewey Ave.
Bartlesville, OK  74003
View map »


Sponsor: Price Tower Arts Center
Telephone: 918.336.4949
Contact Name: Angelina Bourgou
Website »

More information

Escape the ordinary, and learn about OKC from a different point of view. Relax in the climate controlled cabin on one of our 65’ cruisers, or enjoy the breeze on the viewing deck and listen...

Cost: $15 for Seniors and kids under 12, $20 Adults

Where:
Regatta Landing
701 S. Lincoln Blvd.
OKC, OK  73109
View map »


Telephone: 405.702.7755
Contact Name: Business Office
Website »

More information

The evening Cocktail Cruise offers stunning views of the downtown skyline, the Boathouse District and Finish Line Tower, the Wheeler Ferris wheel and quite possibly an amazing Oklahoma sunset. Come...

Cost: $15 for Seniors and kids under 12, $20 Adults

Where:
Regatta Landing
701 S. Lincoln Blvd.
OKC, OK  73109
View map »


Telephone: 405.702.7755
Contact Name: Business Office
Website »

More information

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