I am my father’s son, I’ve never known when to shut up
So begins “Mama’s Eyes” perhaps the most heartfelt song in Justin Townes Earle’s catalogue from the fine Midnight at the Movies his breakout LP from 2009. There is such a painful and poignant honesty in Townes Earle’s lyrics that leaves an indelible mark on the listener. What Earle understands is that so much of who you are comes from how you grew up, what your parents were like, how they made an impact on you. There’s his father, the famous Steve Earle, who abandoned his wife and son at a young age and perhaps due to the familial stubbornness, they “don’t see eye to eye” and yet for all his mistakes, his moments of weakness, that pain that he blames on his absent father, Earle is is mother’s son as well, he’s got her eyes, and her kindness in him. It’s a beautifully crafted song, and among the best he’ll ever write.