Even before he played a note, Justin Townes Earle had a potent legacy to deal with, as the son of renegade singer/songwriter Steve Earle and the namesake of Texas troubadour Townes Van Zandt. With two albums under his belt, the younger Earle has been able to not only live up to expectations, but also manage it on his own terms. His songs tell stories with emotional depth, such as the convoluted love morass "Someday I'll Be Forgiven for This," a weepy country-folk lament from last year's Midnight at the Movies. He can do straight country, too, as in the fiddle- and pedal steel-driven, Bakersfieldesque "Poor Fool"; country blues ("They Killed John Henry"); and jaunty string-band music ("Black Eyed Suzy"), each time sketching vivid characters snared by intractable forces. Earle's casually eclectic sweep of Americana may suggest his father's, but he pushes it in his own unique directions, such as on the bluegrassy, mandolin-etched cover of the Replacements' "Can't Hardly Wait." And his voice and perspective are entirely his own, ones likely to be reckoned with for years to come. With Joe Pug.
Thu., Feb. 25, 8 p.m., 2010