Singer and Songwriter Justin Townes Earle Has Died

Singer, songwriter, second generation performer, and Nashville native Justin Townes Earle has passed away the age of 38. The news was released on Sunday evening, August 23rd, though no cause of death has been given at this time. Saving Country Music has confirmed his passing with his record label, New West Records.

“It is with tremendous sadness that we inform you of the passing of our son, husband, father and friend Justin,” is how the message reads on Facebook and Instagram. “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 Justin.”

Well-respected as a songwriter and performer, Justin Townes Earle was one of the rising stars in the Americana scene after first releasing a well-received six-song EP called Yuma in 2007, which led to him being signed to Bloodshot Records out of Chicago. This led to five critically-acclaimed records beginning with 2008’s The Good Life, leading into 2009’s Midnight at the Movies, which was named Saving Country Music’s Album of the Year.

By 2010, Justin Townes Earle was opening the doors for the country and Americana insurgency that would take root in the years to come. His album Harlem River Blues became a breakout, and the title track became the 2011 Americana Music Association’s Song of the Year, and he performed the song on Letterman with an up-and-coming performer named Jason Isbell playing guitar for him. In 2011, Saving Country Music named Justin Townes Earle the Artist of the Year.

After fulfilling his contract with Bloodshot Records, Earle moved to Vagrant Records where he released Single Mothers and Absent Fathers in 2014 and 2015 respectively, before moving to New West who released his final two records, Kids in the Street in 2017, and Saint of Lost Causes in 2019.

Named in part for Townes Van Zandt, who was close friends with Justin’s father, alt-country legend Steve Earle, the Nashville native grew up in the south of the city with his mother Carol Ann Hunter Earle. Steve Earle left the home when Justin was just two-years-old, though he returned later briefly after getting clean in 1994. But it was Justin mother who mostly raised him.

Like his father, Justin Townes Earle had his personal battles, including being arrested in Indianapolis in 2010 after a belligerent episode. Open about his issues with addiction, they often became interwoven into his songs, resulting in the honest and touching moments that marked his music.

Justin Townes Earle was married in October of 2013 to Jenn Marie Maynard. The couple had a daughter in June of 2017 named Etta.

More information when it becomes available.

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