Whether he likes it or not, Justin Townes Earle will probably never escape the shadow of his dad, Steve Earle. Not completely, anyway.

It’s not a question of their sometimes contentious relationship, their well-documented substance abuse issues or their fiery tempers. Instead, it has more to do with their languid, occasionally mush-mouthed singing styles and the assorted old-timey genres that serve as the foundation of their music. Both elements are prominent throughout Justin Townes Earle’s 7th LP, Kids in the Street.

However, this release represents a welcome change of pace for the 35-year-old singer-songwriter. While the restraint of earlier albums like 2015’s Absent Fathers could get tedious at times, Kids…’ looseness and swagger call to mind the older Earle while sidestepping his occasionally overbearing machismo.

The album’s opening track, “Champagne Corolla,” is a perfect case in point. Over bluesy horns and an irresistibly bouncy beat, the younger Earle sings the praises of a sexily sensible woman: [LISTEN]

Champagne Corolla

Given songs like this, it makes sense that Earle credits the album’s mellow confidence to his marriage. If “Short Hair Woman” — a sly subversion of an old Lightnin’ Hopkins song — is any indication, she’s a keeper: [LISTEN]

Short Hair Woman

Kids in the Street isn’t all sunshine and roses. On the bittersweet title song, Earle ruminates on how gentrification has changed Nashville. “There Go a Fool” captures the pain of seeing a former lover with another man. “Same Old Stagolee” gives the classic murder ballad a class-conscious update.

But overall, the album shows Earle triumphing over his demons and his past. As “15-25” makes clear, he knows how fortunate he is: [LISTEN]

15_25