Justin Townes Earle is the son of country/rock singer Steve Earle, and like his father, who was often on the road, he became addicted to drugs at an early age. He spent most of the 90s letting drugs wreck his life, but eventually sobered up, after what was evidently his fifth major drug overdose. After sobering up, he began his music career. 
Harlem River Blues is Justin's fourth album in as many years, and can best be described as country folk. I would place this more on the mellow end of the spectrum, with only one or two upbeat tracks to be found.
|1||Harlem River Blues||2:48|
|2||One More Night in Brooklyn||3:04|
|3||Move Over Mama||2:00|
|4||Workin' for the MTA||3:48|
|6||Slippin' and Slidin'||2:58|
|8||Learning to Cry||2:41|
|11||Harlem River Blues Reprise||:31|
This album starts out very promising. Earle doesn't have a bad style; it's not country pop, it's country folk. Earle has a relatively twang-free baritone voice, and really, his singing is not too bad, although his range seems limited.
The lyrics give this album an interesting touch, with several of the songs alluding to New York City. My favorite is Workin' For The MTA:
I run the six line train,About half way through the album, he starts to slip. It's not that the quality goes down, per se. It's more that he seems to run out of ideas, and the music starts getting repetitive. Most of the punches are pulled during the first half of the album, and it just kind of coasts to the end.
Clear from Brooklyn Bridge to Pelham Bay
Which brings up my final complaint: the end comes just 31 minutes from the start. Half the tracks are under three minutes, leaving you with the feeling that he really left lots of territory unexplored. I felt like some of the tracks (Move Over Mama, for one) were great ideas that were cut short; there was more they could have offered had Earle taken them to their logical conclusions.
The whole album gives me the feeling that Earle could be a much better artist if, instead of cranking out a new album every year, he would spend more time developing the material he comes up with. Harlem River Blues is perhaps the foundation of a great album, but falls way short.
Addendum: Looks like J.T.E. may still have some sobering up to do.