Personal struggles with addiction and troubles with the law, not to mention the connection of his folk-royalty father, Steve Earle, have meant that Earle the Younger, gifted as he is, has always had a specific narrative attached to him and his music. It’s not like this is anything new—musicians, especially in such a story-driven genre like folk—are forever at the mercy of the narratives, mythologies and personal demons to which they are tied, making the title of this album all the more apt. When that statement is sung on the title track, a wistful, shuffling ode to a dissolving relationship, it’s with an insistence and almost a sense of calm, as if Earle, too, is letting us know that he’s more than aware of what we all think of him, of the narratives attached to him, and he’s alright with that.
This is where we’re at with Justin Townes Earle, who opens his latest album with the line, “Hear my father on the radio, singin’ ‘Take Me Home Again,’” following up with “Sometimes I wish that I could get away / sometimes I wish that he’d just call” and a sighed “I thought I’d be a better man.” That self-awareness comes into play again, and Earle lays it all down for us less than a minute into the album, and beautifully, amid gentle, echo-y electric picking and mournful horns that wind around his words like the Carolina coast he references.
Nothing’s Gonna Change… is ultimately the kind of album you can curl up into, let the warm tones surround you and rest easy—not in a The King of Limbs, “this-album-made-me-fall-asleep” way like but in a way that makes you feel like, “damn, everything feels right about now.” — Paste