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Justin Townes Earle Finds Success In Unexpected Places

of the Oakland Press

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Justin Townes Earle has noticed his audiences have increased five-fold in the 11 months since he released his third album, “Midnight at the Movies.”

Credit “the publicity gods,” he says.

“The publicity gods have been very good to me this year, especially from places ... you don’t typically expect for somebody who plays the kind of music I do,” says the 28-year-old son of singer-songwriter Steve Earle.

One of those places is GQ magazine, which placed Earle alongside Brad Pitt, Johnny Depp, Clint Eastwood and others on its list

of the 25 Most Stylish Men in the World.

“(Clothes) are something I’ve always liked,” says Earle, who sports $3,000 suits by Alabama designer Billy Reed on stage. “I don’t think you have to wear flannel shirts and torn-up jeans to play country music. Plus, country music is just as much fashion as it is anything else — gaudy as hell, but fashion nonetheless.

“And I was a punk rock kid before that, and any punk rock kid who claims he’s not a fashion whore is an idiot. That’s what it’s all about.”

Earle’s other publicity blast of 2009 was winning the Americana Music Association’s award for Emerging Artist of the Year — a welcome honor, though a bit odd since he’s been on the road for 13 years (playing for a time in his father’s band, the Dukes) and already had three albums out.

“And it was the second year in a row I’d been nominated, so I guess they really just wanted to give me that award,” says Earle, who’s planning to record his next album in May.

“It was just a good time for me. Most of the musicians that play the many genres that make up Americana music, we’re all pretty close friends. So you can count on going to a festival or the Americana Music Awards knowing just about everybody who’s there. It’s nice, no matter what happens.”

Justin Townes Earle and Joe Pub perform Sunday (Feb. 28) at the Magic Stick, 4120 Woodward Ave., Detroit. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance, $12 day of show. Call 313-833-9700 or visit www.majesticdetroit. com.

Web Site: www.majesticdetroit.com

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