For album number five, Justin Townes Earle turns the spotlight away from himself and his legendary father–Steve Earle–and shines it on his mother. Single Mothers is an ode to Carol Ann Hunter and single mothers everywhere, but especially the ones in Nashville. Earle says that musicians’ lifestyles in Music City lead to a lot of broken homes and messed-up children, including his own childhood. “I’ve always found [single mothers] to be amazing for the most part,” he told Nashville Scene earlier this year. “I think it’s extremely commendable and I’m always in awe of women.”
Indeed, Earle got married last year, but that hasn’t tempered his lovelorn songwriting. With the help of members of Centro-matic–a band he saw as a teenager and has always wanted to work with since–Earle casts a critical eye on his own failings as a man. So many love songs–especially country ones–lay the blame at the feet of women. It’s refreshing to see a man own up to his faults, as Earle does on this acoustic version of “Burning Pictures,” captured live in Studio 1A.