Justin Townes Earle
When your dad is Steve Earle, your parents name you after Townes Van Zandt, your resume includes not only adolescent time in Nashville rock and bluegrass bands but also several drug overdoses, and you live to make no-nonsense alt-country folk records, it would almost be surprising if you didn't wind up a favorite of the roots-music tastemaking set. In a nutshell, that's the story of Justin Townes Earle. Born in 1982, he spent time in Tennessee combos the Distributors and the Swindlers, not to mention his dad's band, the Dukes, for whom he even sang a song on a 2003 live album. Hard drug dependence reportedly got him canned from that gig, but he eventually kicked the habit, and in 2007 he put out a debut solo EP, Yuma. By the time he released his second full-length, 2009's Midnight at the Movies, he was being nominated for a pile of Americana Music Awards and was named Emerging Artist of the Year. Fans heard tinges of gospel, rockabilly and soul in his sound. His fourth set, Harlem River Blues -- released, like its predecessors, by the alt country-identified indie Bloodshot -- hit stores in 2010.