Making Sure Justin Townes Earle’s Legacy Is Not Forgotten

Second generation country performer Justin Townes Earle passed away tragically on August 20th, 2020, but strong efforts are underway to make sure his legacy doesn’t go forgotten, especially after the ownership of the label that released his first five albums was sent in flux with the sale of Bloodshot Records.

Justin Townes Earle was an anchor for Bloodshot Records from 2007 to 2012. Exceleration Music purchased the label in late October, but the Exceleration and the Justin Townes Earle estate have reached a specific deal to make sure the Earle portion of the catalog continues to be serviced and “celebrated, recognized, and amplified across the global digital and physical market” into the future.

“I believe, as many of his fans do, that Justin Townes’ songs and recordings deserve much wider acclaim and recognition than he achieved in his lifetime,” says Exceleration partner Charles Caldas. “It is humbling to have this opportunity to work alongside his estate to ensure that his music continues to be discovered and celebrated, and most importantly to work to make sure that his extraordinary legacy as a songwriter and recording artist brings him the recognition he deserves.”

Laurens “Larry” Kusters, who is helping to manage the Justin Townes Earle estate says, “We are very excited to take on the next chapter with the great team at Exceleration Music. After we lost Justin, we crafted a plan of how his legacy will be immortalized. Exceleration Music is a crucial addition to the team to make that happen.”

Justin’s wife Jennifer Earle adds, “I am truly touched by the appreciation that Exceleration Music has for Justin and am very much excited about combining forces with our collective visions to honor his legacy as a songwriter, husband and father to Etta.”

New West Records, which was one of Justin Townes Earle’s labels after Bloodshot, has also just made limited colored vinyl editions of his albums Kids in the Street and The Saint of Lost Causes available for the Christmas buying season. To learn more, check out New West’s exclusive collections.

Also announced recently, Recording King has made a signature Justin Townes Earle model guitar, with the royalties of each sale going back to the Justin Townes Earle estate. Fans of Justin Townes Earle know that the songwriter had perfected his own style of guitar playing adapted from a clawhammer banjo style and other influences, which allowed Earle to pick bass notes while also playing the melody, permitting the music to project enough where he didn’t need a band behind him to fill a room with sound.

As a fan of older style guitars and Recording King’s Dirty 30 model, Justin Townes Earle was developing a signature model with the company before he passed.

“We’d been working on this project with Justin since about 2012,” says Ashley Atz of Recording King, “He’s such a great songwriter, I think sometimes his guitar playing didn’t get enough attention, but he was a killer guitar player. He could play bass, rhythm and lead on just one instrument, so he needed a guitar that was really dry sounding with really short decay, to make room for the upper lead-style stuff that he was playing … We were so sad he didn’t get to actually see and hold the finished product before he passed, but I can tell you this, he’d be so excited right now to know we finally got this across home plate.”

The single 0 body guitar with a satin tobacco sunburst finish has a floating bridge and a gold tailpiece over the AAA spruce top, and the initials “JTE” on the head stock. To see more, CLICK HERE.

And on January 4th, 2022, which would have been Justin Townes Earle’s 40th birthday, a celebration of Justin Townes Earle’s life will commence at the Ryman Auditorium. Steve Earle, Emmylou Harris, Jason Isbell, Lucinda Williams, Ben Nichols of Lucero, Mike Ness and Johnny Two Bags of Social Distortion, Old Crow Medicine Show, and many more will be paying tribute to the songs and legacy of Justin Townes Earle. The show will benefit Justin’s 4 year old daughter, Etta St. James Earle’s trust. It is currently sold out.

Sometimes when an artist passes—whether it’s too soon or after a long and storied life—their legacy slowly recedes in memory. For Justin Townes Earle, his family and peers are stepping up to make sure the legacy of this important artist in American roots music is preserved.

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