Monday, August 24, 2020

R.I.P.: Justin Townes Earle, Americana Singer-Songwriter

Justin Townes Earle
Justin Townes Earle, an award-winning Americana singer-songwriter and son to country-rock troubadour Steve Earle, has died at age 38, reports the Tennessean.

"It is with tremendous sadness that we inform you of the passing of our son, husband, father and friend Justin," said a message posted Sunday evening to Justin Townes Earle's verified Facebook page. "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."

A cause of death was not given.

Born Jan. 4, 1982, Justin Townes Earle — named after folk songwriter and his father’s friend, Townes Van Zandt — was raised in Nashville by his mother, Carol Ann Hunter.

Earle intentionally carved an Americana sound that stood apart from his father's defined songwriting, per a 2019 interview with country music website The Boot. The two played "five shows together in 13 years since I started making records," Justin Townes Earle said.

"... even though it was tough, nobody will ever say that I rode my daddy’s coattails," he told The Boot, adding: "We separated it hard from the beginning, because he wanted me to stand on my own.”

Like his father, however, Justin Townes Earle struggled openly with addiction throughout much of his career. He began using drugs at age 14 and “by the time I was 16 I was completely off the rails,” he told No Depression.

During his solo career, Earle earned a decade of clean life before relapsing twice and finding sobriety again, per a 2017 interview with Foo Fighters guitarist Chris Shiflett. On Schiflett’s podcast “Walking The Line,” Earle said that “I got all my craziness out of the way as a coffeehouse musician and a roadie.”

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