The Tragic Charisma of Justin Townes Earle

Amanda Petrusich at The New Yorker:

One of my favorite Earle performances is an acoustic cover of Paul Simon’s “Graceland,” which he recorded in 2017 for Hamburger Küchensessions, a German series in which musicians perform from the corner of a kitchen. Take a breath before you watch it. His eyes are fluttering, and he appears unshaven, a little jittery. But his voice is beautiful—fragile and strong. “Graceland” is a kind of American hymn, a song about tragedy and heartache and also the part of a person’s spirit that tells them to keep going anyway, always—to atone and reclaim, as many times as it takes. Earle speeds the song up, and doesn’t quite cling to the melody or the lyrics as Simon wrote them, but his rendition is heavy, spare, and stunning. “I’m going to Graceland,” he promises, over and over as the song ends. It feels good to think that he is there right now, received and at peace.

more here.