Posts Tagged ‘Justin Townes Earle’

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The music world this week lost a massive talent far too early when it was announced that Americana singer-songwriter Justin Townes Earle had passed away from undisclosed causes at the age of just 38.

He was the son of country music mainstay Steve Earle, and named for his father’s friend and mentor Townes Van Zandt, and this rich pedigree flowing through his veins was wrought clear by both his obvious musical acumen plus the way he was so defiantly determined to forge his own path and do things his own way.

Earle leaves behind eight beautiful albums – the most latest being 2019’s The Saint Of Lost Causes – and a tragically young family (he and wife Jenn Marie only welcomed daughter Etta St. James into the world in 2017), but also the indelible marks he made on the lives of countless people whose paths he crossed along his too-short but action-packed journey. A genuinely fun guy to be around, he was charismatic and opinionated and incredibly open about his own past, completely willing to steer conversation towards the many trials and tribulations he’d faced, and the addictions he’d battled since his early teens.

The impact of his immaculately authentic song writing and consummate performance skills was immediate and invigorating, and when he burst into a stripped-back but hauntingly beautiful cover of The Replacements’ Can’t Hardly Wait, a great version of which followed on Justin’s subsequent album Midnight At The Movies (2009).

From the very beginning was that this was a guy who was not living in his father’s shadow. He didn’t have to come out and say it, but you just knew it. He wanted to pave his own path, and he wanted to lay those bricks – rightly or wrongly – in the way that he saw fit and the way that he thought it should have been. I admired that, because it would have been very easy for Justin in the early stage of his career – around that first album [2008’s The Good Life] and EP [Yuma(2007)] – when it would have been very easy to talk up his father and milk those connections. There were references to it in interviews, but he’d never use it as a calling card. The Americana genre with which Earle is usually synonymous is a large and often nebulous catch-all, but Earle was equally at home mining sounds and emotions from the soul, blues, folk and even rock’n’roll realms as he was from the country music at Americana’s heart. More than that it was the way he so effortlessly brought a modern spin to those old-timey foundations that made his music so widely accessible. But they didn’t see a country act in Justin, they saw a guy onstage who knew his craft and knew his songs and knew how to deliver those songs in a way that made you feel sitting in the audience like you’re the only person there, in the way that Bruce Springsteen does.

“And you kind of get locked in this zone where you think that you’re the only person in the room and that is a gift – an absolute gift – that not many artists possess, but Justin Townes Earle, was one of those who could do it. He’d take you to a place night in, night out that you wanted to go to, because that’s why you were there. “And he knew that, because that was his job. He rolled up the sleeves, put the guitar on and went to work. There was a lot of fun along the way. But seeing Justin playing live is that every time he walked out onto a stage he was doing the best he could at that point.”

“I feel like Justin was a lynchpin to a whole lot of people who lifted their game because of him,” he offers sadly. “He came out kinda rippin’ at his guitar and it inspired a whole generation of songwriters to rip at that claw-hammer finger-pickin’ style and not be timid when you’re writing songs. “He had that Replacements kinda snowball – that relentless drive and that punk element – to country and modern song writing, . He was an important figure for everyone, it was just crazy. He was also a great raconteur – he’d always tell stories and he was always quite open onstage and quite honest. He was a great, great showman. The breadth of fans at his gigs was incredible, Justin would attract people like 70- and 80-year-olds who loved that classic throwback country songwriting – that dusty 78s-era gramophone country – but then you’d have rockabilly kids in their 20s and punk kids, people who love The Replacements. He had that extraordinary breadth of reach.

“Justin was such a rollercoaster ride of confidence and fragility – he was the extreme of every adjective you can imagine – and people could relate to his journey and his ride. People followed him and they related to him on his ups and his down and his variation from tour to tour in his states of mind, and that made him approachable and incredibly easy to follow and kind of befriend.

He was always incredibly interesting and a song writing genius – so you couldn’t really ignore him, and that’s really rare. He had a force of personality that’s really rare in the music industry these days, apart from the obvious loss – is just the talent that Justin had, it was so immense but in many respects it didn’t reach it’s peak, and that’s terribly sad.

He was a guy who gave a lot onstage, and the talent that Justin possessed was almost inconceivable. He brought a whole lot of rock’n’roll to Americana, he was a real rock star – and sadly you can’t help but feel that he had so many great songs left in him, that his best work was still to come.

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Justin Townes Earle, an acclaimed US songwriter and son of Steve Earle, has died, in news confirmed on the artist’s Facebook page on Sunday night.

“It is with tremendous sadness that we inform you of the passing of our son, husband, father and friend Justin,” the post read. “So many of you have relied on his music and lyrics over the years and we hope that his music will continue to guide you on your journeys. You will be missed dearly.”

Named for his father’s friend and idol Townes Van Zandt, Earle, 38, battled addiction throughout his life. He released eight albums across the course of his career, which saw him honoured twice at the Americana Music awards including for his best-known song, “Harlem River Blues”.

Many have paid tribute to the artist on Twitter, with the musician Samantha Crain reflecting on their friendship: “Such a tremendous songwriter. He took me on two tours and always treated me so kindly. He understood struggle, he understood joy I saw him at the peaks and valleys of both through the 13 years I knew him.” His friend and collaborator Jason Isbell said: “Had a lot of good times and made a lot of good music with JTE. So sad for his family tonight.”

“When you start with my middle and last names,”said  Earle, “how much worse can the expectations be? My father is one of the greatest songwriters who’s ever lived, and I couldn’t write a song like [revered singer-songwriter] Townes Van Zandt if my life depended on it. But you know going through the door you’re gonna be judged based on that, so you better be ready.”

By the time he was 14, Earle was doing residencies in the competitive Nashville songwriter’s scene. It was the mid-1990s, and artists in the so-called alternative country movement, spearheaded by acts such as Uncle Tupelo, BR-549 and Neko Case, were mixing post-punk energy with honky-tonk twang. Earle’s first three records were released by Bloodshot Records, one of the drivers of the scene and inheritors to Steve Earle’s 1980s blue-collar barroom country. Earle was an on-and-off member of the raucous country-rock band the Sadies. As Earle gained confidence, he committed to being a solo artist.

The writer and cultural critic Hanif Abdurraqib praised Earle as “an incredible writer of narrative – stories that flourished beyond the music they were laid over”. the NPR music critic Ann Powers described his last album, “The Saint of Lost Causes”, as “a powerful road map of America … we’ve lost someone with real vision.”

Earle is survived by his mother Carol-Ann Hunter, his wife, Jenn Marie, and their daughter, Etta St. James Earle.

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When you are a fan of an artist for a long period of time; consisting of multiple albums; it is natural to have you favorites and albums that you never play. Most people favour the early albums; Justin Townes Earle is one of those artists for me. While I really liked his album, Kids In The Street, I almost always find myself reaching for the older stuff. But I’m here to say that The Saint of Lost Causes is among his best work to date, his voice never sounding better. For his eighth album, Justin turned his gaze out – toward the state of America. Like the excellent,The Seduction of Kansas by Priests, Justin Townes Earle isn’t hitting you over the head with his rage. His imagery is pointed, yet subtle enough to requiring the listener to really listen.

The Saint Of Lost Causes is the 8th album from American roots troubadour, Justin Townes Earle. Earle’s latest album finds a songwriter and artist who is unflinching and unequivocal in his truth. When writing this album, Earle focused on a different America – the disenfranchised and the downtrodden, the oppressed and the oppressors, the hopeful and the hopeless. There’s the drugstore-cowboy-turned-cop-killer praying for forgiveness (Appalachian Nightmare) and the common Michiganders persevering through economic and industrial devastation (Flint City Shake It); the stuck mother dreaming of a better life on the right side of the California tracks (Over Alameda) and the Cuban man in New York City weighed down by a world of regret (Ahi Esta Mi Nina); the used up soul desperate to get to New Orleans (Ain’t Got No Money) and the sons of bitches in West Virginia poisoning the land and sea (Don’t Drink the Water). These are individuals and communities in every corner of the country, struggling through the ordinary and sometimes extraordinary circumstances of everyday life.

Over the course of the dozen tracks, Justin Townes Earle paints little stories of Americans that are getting left behind in this current shitstorm. He isn’t shy in pointing out his targets. It’s a powerful album digging so much deeper than the horrible outcome of a dead policeman.

Releasing such an outward looking album after the deeply personal and inward looking Kids In The Street was a nice touch. And he absolutely nailed it.


Justin Townes Earle – Vocals, Acoustic Guitar
Adam Bednarik – Upright Bass, Electric Bass
Joe V. McMahan – Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Slide Guitar, Baritone Guitar, Celeste
Paul Niehaus – Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Pedal Steel
Jon Radford – Drums, Percussion
Cory Younts – Harmonica, Wurlitzer, Piano, Fender Rhodes, Background Vocals

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A few lines and a guitar lick are all Justin Townes Earle needs on “Ain’t Got No Money,” the shifty roots rocker that will be featured on his just-announced LP The Saint of Lost Causes.

Something of a return to the familiar for Earle, The Saint of Lost Causes sees him reunited with longtime producer Adam Bednarik in Nashville after venturing out to Omaha, Nebraska, to record 2017’s Kids in the Streets with Mike Mogis of Bright Eyes. “Ain’t Got No Money” is lean and wiry, built around a locked-in riff that calls to mind James McMurtry’s “Choctaw Bingo” and never loses step with Earle’s bitten-off, occasionally slurred vocal about trying to find the cash to make it to New Orleans. “Give me some money or just leave me alone,” he sings in the refrain, over a panting harmonica that wails through the song’s middle fifth.

Due to be the second of 12 songs on The Saint of Lost Causes‘ running order, “Ain’t Got No Money” and its pared-down arrangement suggests a different direction from the fleshed-out, full-band approach of Kids in the Street, which centered around more personal tales inspired by Music City, his hometown. Earle and Bednarik cut the album at Sound Emporium in Nashville.

From the new album ‘The Saint Of Lost Causes,’ available May 24th

Ahead of his upcoming album Kids in the Street, Nashville native Justin Townes Earle has released his fourth single, “Maybe a Moment” accompanied by a new video. It comes as half of a two-song release, which also includes a cover of Paul Simon’s “Graceland”

The son of Steve Earle enlisted Bright Eyes’ Mike Mogis to produce the record, due May 26th

“Maybe a Moment” is the story of one of those nothing-to-do small town days in your teens. Why not drive to Memphis to just “get out of town,” Earle sings. He knows a place where a guy “sells anything to anyone / But I don’t know what time he closes up.” The rocking Americana track captures the impulsiveness of being young, when everything feels so important and critical. It’s Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m on Fire” ten years earlier, before that insistence gets dark.


Directed by Alicia J. Rose, who also helmed First Aid Kit’s “Walk Unafraid,” the video was filmed in Portland, Oregon and follows two young women early in their romance, overcoming the hate their attraction brings from a couple of ignorant men.  Kids in the Street, the follow-up to Townes Earle’s 2015 Absent Fathers, comes out May 26th and was recorded in Omaha, Nebraska .

The new song “Maybe A Moment”. You can now download this song along with the B-side cover of Paul Simon’s “Graceland” when you pre-order the new album .

Justin Townes Earle played a couple of songs from ‘Single Mothers’ Album for Rhapsody .Justin Townes Earle  is an American singer-songwriter and musician. Earle recently signed with Vagrant Records and has released five albums with Bloodshot Records since 2007. He released the album Single Mothers in September 2014 on Vagrant records with a follow up album named Absent Fathers released in January 2015. He is also the son of prolific alternative country artist Steve Earle, and is named after Townes Van Zandt. 


While down under in Australia , Justin Townes Earle  recorded a cover of the Fleetwood Mac hit, “Dreams” live for FBi Radio. Recorded live on ‘Tune Up’ with Stuart Coupe on FBi Radio Sydney 94.5 FM in Sydney, 14 October 2014. PO Box 1962, Strawberry Hills, NSW 2012


Following the success of his critically-acclaimed-fifth-studio-album, “Single Mothers”, Justin Townes Earle is pleased to announce the release of the companion album, “Absent Fathers”. Comprised of 10 tracks, “Absent Fathers” was recorded alongside “Single Mothers” as a double album, but as Justin began to sequence it, he felt each half needed to make its own statement and they took on their own identities. “Absent Fathers” will be released January 13th, 2015. See below for the complete track list.

Single Mothers was released on September 9, 2014 via Vagrant Records and is available now Combined with Absent Fathers”, the double album perfectly showcases exactly why Justin Townes Earle is considered a forefather of Contemporary Americana. Hailed as an album that’s “showing the world that alt-country can be pretty dope,” Single Mothers” has had great radio success, While down under, Justin recorded a cover of the Fleetwood Mac hit, “Dreams” live for FBi Radio.

Absent Fathers Track List:

1. Farther From Me
2. Why
3. Least I Got The Blues
4. Call Ya Momma
5. Day and Night
6. Round the Bend
7. When the One You Love Loses Faith
8. Slow Monday
9. Someone Will Pay
10. Looking For A Place To Land


Justin Townes Earle: Single Mothers

For his fifth full-length album, Justin Townes Earle doubled down on the more laid-back, R&B-influenced sound he carved out on his previous 2012 record. On “Single Mothers”, the Tennessee songwriter plays the role of soul crooner (“White Gardenias”), roadhouse bluesman (“My Baby Drives”), and high-lonesome balladeer (“Pictures in a Drawer”) with equal grace. The claustrophobic, burnt-out blues of “Today and Lonely Night” is the real highpoint, a vintage Earle tune that climaxes when the singer gives his excuse to stay in on a Friday night in New York: “Darling, I just don’t feel much like going to Brooklyn tonight,” he moans, possessed with the voice of someone who’s seen far too much and needs to say nothing more. That same sort of sinister subtext can be found on “My Baby Drives,” where the narrator who’s all-too happy to be riding shotgun refuses to reveal why he’s been unable, lately, to take the wheel. “Single Mothers” may trick you into thinking its a simple record, but it just may be Earle’s darkest.

Single Mothers was released on September 9, 2014 via Vagrant Records and is available now . Combined with Absent Fathers, the double album perfectly showcases exactly why Justin Townes Earle is considered a forefather of Contemporary Americana. Hailed as an album that’s “showing the world that alt-country can be pretty dope,” (Noisey/Vice), “Single Mothers” has had great radio success,


Once compared to a man who wears many suits, in thirty-two short years Justin Townes Earle has experienced more than most, both personally and professionally Between releasing four full-length-critically-acclaimed albums, constant touring, multiple stints in rehab, a new found sobriety, being born Steve Earle’s son, amicable and not-so-amicable break-ups with record labels, and facing the trials and tribulations of everyday life, it’s safe to say JTE has quite the story to tell. His fifth album (Vagrant Records) serves as the perfect platform for such narrations. Entitled “Single Mothers”, the album showcases exactly why Justin Townes Earle is considered a forefather of Contemporary Americana. With his heart and soul still rooted in Nashville, Single Mothers shows Justin’s continued combination of catchy songs and authenticity. The album was recorded live with his four-piece touring band with only days of rehearsal leading up to recording to keep the ideas fresh. No overdubs, no other singers, no additional players – just a real, heartfelt performance capturing the moment. Justin will be at the Nottingham Glee Club on the 4th February with the added bonus of Andrew Combs as support a more than worthy headliner on his own