Some very sad news to wake up to on a Monday morning – Justin Townes Earle, americana singer-songwriter and son of Steve, has died at the age of 38. On a post on his Instagram page, it states: “It is with tremendous sadness that we inform you of the passing of our son, husband, father and friend Justin. 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.”
He was named by his dad after songwriter Townes Van Zandt which he told RS last year wasn’t universally appreciated: “My mother hated Townes Van Zandt. My first name was supposed to be Townes, but my mother would not have it. She hated him because of the trouble that Dad and him got into but she still played his music.”
Earle like his father had issues with addiction throughout his life, but speaking in 2017 to podcast Walking the Floor, said that he was finally sober after finding a new path: “I got all my craziness out of the way as a coffeehouse musician and a roadie.”
He released eight studio albums across the course of his career, which saw him win twice at the Americana Music awards including for his best-known song, ‘Harlem River Blues’.
Reaction to his death has come from all over the world of entertainment, including the writer Stephen King:
It appears that Justin Townes Earle has died. I hope it's a hoax but fear it is not. What a loss.
— Stephen King (@StephenKing) August 24, 2020
AUK will publish its obituary shortly, and you can read our A-Z piece on Earle which we published last month here. In the meantime here’s a clip of Earle performing his best-known song on David Letterman back in 2011.