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When your last name is Earle and your middle name is Townes, a career in country music is pretty well assured. Justin Townes Earle, son of legendary troubadour Steve Earle, seems determined to uphold the country folk tradition into which he was born. If anything, Justin’s first LP, 2008’s The Good Life, was more heel-stompingly honky-tonk than any record dear old dad (or namesake Townes Van Zandt) ever put out. He adopted a more modern folk sound on this year’s Midnight at the Movies, but don’t expect the country heir to drift far from his roots. Amid the new album’s self-searching and breakup songs, Justin took a stab at the twice-told tale of American folk legend John Henry, who revolted against modernity by battling a steam hammer to the death. “They killed John Henry,” Justin exclaims in his version, “but they won’t kill me!”
JUSTIN TOWNES EARLE PERFORMS AT 7 P.M. AT STRATHMORE’S GUDELSKY OUTDOOR CONCERT GAZEBO, 5301 TUCKERMAN LANE, NORTH BETHESDA, MD. FREE. (301) 581-5200.