Steve Earle to Release Justin Townes Earle Tribute Album

Steve Earle and his backing band The Dukes will be releasing a record of songs written by Steve Earle’s late son Justin Townes Earle who passed away in late August at the age of 38.

Though details are still coming together, Steve Earle announced the album on Wednesday, September 16th, saying that the band was planning to record the album in October, with the hopes of a January 2021 release date through New West Records—the label both Steve Earle and Justin Townes Earle were signed to when Justin Townes Earle passed away. 100% of artist advances and royalties will go to a trust for Justin’s daughter, Etta St. James Earle.

The album will come in a succession of tribute records Steve Earle has recorded, including covering the songs of fellow troubadour songwriters and close friends Townes Van Zandt and Guy Clark. Steve Earle released Townes in 2009, and Guy in 2019.

The death of Justin Townes Earle was announced on August 23rd via his official social media channels. “It is with tremendous sadness that we inform you of the passing of our son, husband, father and friend Justin,” the message 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 Justin.”

Fans concerned for what happened to the Nashville native received a partial answer when Metro Nashville police spokesperson Don Aaron explained on August 25th that police and fire had responded to Earle’s apartment in Nashville after receiving a request for a welfare check from a friend. When police arrived at the residence, they had to force entry into the residence, and found no signs of struggle or foul play in the apartment.

Though the death is currently labeled “unclassified” pending findings from the Medical Examiner’s Office in Nashville, police preliminarily determined Earle’s cause of death to be a “probable drug overdose.”

However Saving Country Music has been able to confirm from numerous sources that in the weeks leading up to Justin Townes Earle’s death, he had been suffering from a severe case of pneumonia, and had been hospitalized due to the illness, and required surgery on his lung. At the time of his death, Earle was still recovering from the condition, and was “very weak.” Autopsy and toxicology reports can regularly take six weeks or longer to conclude.

Justin Townes Earle was married in October of 2013 to Jenn Marie Maynard, who gave birth to their daughter Etta in June of 2017. A public memorial service is also said to be in the works for 2021.

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