Lower East Side

Dustin Welch, Super Rooster Music (SESAC); Justin Townes Earle, J-Trane Publishing (ASCAP)

Well, the midnight’s on Manhattan
I’m 11th St. and all alone
And counting cracks beneath my feet
Cause my head is hanging low
And the streetlights all down B
Are shining on the falling rain
The shadows dance across the street
And the wind seems to whisper her name

Well, it’s a tired old town
For another sleepless night
Keeps me wandering around
Down on the Lower East Side

There ain’t a star up in Heaven
Shining down from up above
The city’s so unforgiving
When you’ve got no one to love

Now it’s more and more these days
I’ve found I need a place to hide
It’s easy to get away
Down on the Lower East Side

Dustin Welch: acoustic guitar, vocals; Drew Smith: acoustic guitar; Susan Howe: tenor guitar, vocals;Trisha Keefer: violin; Joe Beckham: upright bass; Joe Humel: drums

I first met Justin Townes Earle when I was 19. We had danced around each other all our lives but never crossed paths. The first night we met was epic. We were both playing a gig with our friend, Jamie Kindleyside, and ended up back at Travis Nicholson’s place singing every Guy Clark and Townes Van Zandt song we knew, and followed by Mance Lipscomb and Mississippi John Hurt. I was floored. Here was a boy who I could relate to, a fella who had been through more shit by that time than even I have in my thirty years as I write this. Anyway, we became fast friends. I’ll never forget it, I went out to his father, Steve’s, place and JT showed me a tune on the piano he’d started about New York. Now, the only time I’d been up there was with a man named Malcolm Holcolme. I was with Malcolm as a sideman, not playing, but as a driver and someone who’d make sure he’d get to his gigs on time and have a guitar to play. The place he performed in the Lower East Side was called the Lakeside Lounge, although there was actually no lake in sight. It happened to be run by Justin’s dad’s guitar player, Roscoe. See how these things work out. Justin started playing this thing and we sat outside getting to know each other as the thing basically wrote itself. He cut a great version of this on his album, Nothing’s Gonna Change The Way You Feel About Me Now.