Justin Townes Earle

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Justin Townes Earle
Justin Townes Earle 2010.jpg
Justin Townes Earle in 2010
Background information
Born (1982-01-04) January 4, 1982 (age 37)
Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.
Occupation(s)Singer-songwriter, musician
InstrumentsVocals, guitar
LabelsNew West Records, Vagrant, Loose Music, Bloodshot Records
Associated acts
Justin Townes Earle performing at the Evanston SPACE in 2014

Justin Townes Earle (born January 4, 1982) is an American singer-songwriter and musician. He is a son of alternative country artist Steve Earle and is named after Townes Van Zandt.[1]

Early life[edit]

Earle grew up in South Nashville, Tennessee, with his mother, Carol Ann Hunter Earle. His father, Steve Earle, gave him his middle name in honor of his own mentor, Townes van Zandt. At the age of two he was left by his father with his mother, but returned to live with his father after Steve got clean in 1994.[2] He dropped out of school, occasionally touring with and working for his father, eventually moving to eastern Tennessee with other songwriters.[3] Like his father, Earle battled addiction beginning in his early teens.[4]


Earle played in two Nashville bands: the Distributors, a rock band, and a ragtime and bluegrass combo the Swindlers.[5] Earle spent some time as guitarist and keyboardist for his father's touring band the Dukes.[5]

Earle developed a hybrid style of music mixing folk, blues and country.[5] In 2007, he released a six-song EP called Yuma.[5] He then signed a contract with Chicago's Bloodshot Records and he released an album called The Good Life in 2008.[5]

In 2009 Earle co-billed The Big Surprise Tour with Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, Old Crow Medicine Show and The Felice Brothers[6] and released the album Midnight at the Movies.[5] In September 2009, Earle received an Americana Music Award for New and Emerging Artist of the Year.[7]

In 2010 he released the album Harlem River Blues, followed by the album Nothing's Gonna Change the Way You Feel About Me Now in 2012.[5] He also appeared in an episode of the HBO television series Treme with his father.[8]

In 2011 Earle received the Americana Music Award in the Song of the Year category for "Harlem River Blues".[9] His album of the same name has been described as having a "gently flowing, urban Americana sound, with horns, organ and tangy electric guitar".[9] That year he also contributed a cover of Maybe Baby on the 2011 tribute album Rave on Buddy Holly.[10] and played Newport Folk Festival[11] and the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival.[12]

Nothing's Gonna Change the Way You Feel About Me Now was listed at album number 37 on Rolling Stone's list of the top 50 albums of 2012, with the annotation as follows: "The son of country-rock renegade Steve Earle has grown into a songwriter to rival his dad."[13]

Earle produced Wanda Jackson's album Unfinished Business in 2012.[14]

Earle played the Grand Ole Opry in 2008, Historical WSM, South By Southwest (2008–2010, 2012), the historic Beacon Theater (May 2009), Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion (September 2009), Bonnaroo (2009) Bumbershoot (2010), the East Coast Blues & Roots Music Festival (Byron Bay, Australia), 2012, the Bowery Ballroom (March 2010) the Winnipeg Folk Festival (July 2008), and the Nelsonville Music Festival (2008 and 2011).[15][16]

In 2018, Earle opened up for California rock band Social Distortion.

Personal life[edit]

Earle was born in Nashville, Tennessee, where he was raised by his mother. He began using drugs at age twelve and continued for many years. He spent time in a rehabilitation clinic followed by a period of sobriety then was reported to have relapsed in September 2010. During his relapse he was involved in a fight with an Indianapolis club owner. He was jailed overnight and spent a month in an alcohol rehabilitation center. He has been sober since then.[1][5][17][18]

Earle moved to New York City in 2009, then returned to Nashville, Tennessee for several years. Earle was married in 2013,[19] and he and his wife currently live on the west coast.[1] Their first child, Etta St. James Earle, was born in July 2017.[20]



Title Album details Peak chart positions
US Country
US Rock



The Good Life
  • Release date: March 25, 2008
  • Label: Bloodshot Records
  • Formats: CD, LP, music download
Midnight at the Movies 15 41
Harlem River Blues
  • Release date: September 13, 2010
  • Label: Bloodshot Records
  • Formats: CD, LP, music download
47 18 9 3
Nothing's Gonna Change the Way You Feel About Me Now
  • Release date: March 26, 2012
  • Label: Bloodshot Records
  • Formats: CD, LP, music download
62 19 11 4
Single Mothers 56 19 13 3
Absent Fathers 16 13 5
Kids in the Street
  • Release date: May 26, 2017
  • Label: New West Records
  • Formats: CD, LP, music download
161 37 3 6
The Saint of the Lost Causes
  • Release date: May 24, 2019
  • Formats: CD, LP, music download
"—" denotes releases that did not chart/not relevant


  1. ^ a b c Dollar, Steve (November 24, 2010). "Riding That Country Wagon". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved December 28, 2010.
  2. ^ St. John, Lauren (2002). Hardcore Troubadour: The Life and Near Death of Steve Earle. HarperCollins/Fourth Estate/Harper Perennial.
  3. ^ Eakin, Marah (September 17, 2010). "From Rogers Park to Crown Heights, Justin Townes Earle reminisces on all his shitty apartments". The A.V. Club. Retrieved May 11, 2017.
  4. ^ Sheperd, Fiona (January 10, 2015). "Justin Townes Earle battled addiction and his father". The Scotsman. Retrieved May 11, 2017.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h Deming, Mark (March 25, 2008). "Justin Townes Earle : Biography". CMT.com. Retrieved May 11, 2017.
  6. ^ "Justin Townes Earle: Tour". Groundcontroltouring.com. Archived from the original on February 18, 2010. Retrieved March 23, 2010.
  7. ^ Photo by Ray Kennedy (September 21, 2009). "Buddy Miller, John Fogerty, Justin Townes Earle Amongst Notable Winners at Americana Music Awards". Paste Magazine. Retrieved May 11, 2017.
  8. ^ "Steve and Justin Townes Earle on HBO's Treme". YouTube. Retrieved February 13, 2015.
  9. ^ a b DeBarros, Paul (July 12, 2012). "Justin Townes Earle and Tristen pack a double punch". The Seattle Times. Retrieved May 11, 2017.
  10. ^ "Various Artists: "Rave on Buddy Holly"". www.allmusic.com. Retrieved June 25, 2016.
  11. ^ "Review: Newport Folk Festival 2011". www.glidemagazine.com. August 9, 2011. Retrieved June 25, 2016.
  12. ^ "HSB 2011 Schedule" (PDF). www.hardlystrictlybluegrass.com. Retrieved June 25, 2016.
  13. ^ "Justin Townes Earle, Nothing's Gonna Change the Way You Feel About Me Now". December 11, 2012. Archived from the original on December 11, 2012. Retrieved May 11, 2017.
  14. ^ "Wanda Jackson 'In the Studio'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved February 13, 2015.
  15. ^ "Past Shows." Stuart's Opera House: Nelsonville, Ohio. Stuart's Opera House: Nelsonville, Ohio, n.d. Web. !October 8, 2012.
  16. ^ "Nelsonville Music Festival." Nelsonville Music Festival, n.d. Web. October 25, 2012.
  17. ^ "Earle Postpones Tour, Enters Rehab". New York Times. September 23, 2010. Retrieved September 23, 2010.
  18. ^ "Justin Townes Earle review: A night in jail can't keep him down. [Music]". Louisville.com. September 18, 2010. Retrieved May 11, 2017.
  19. ^ Moss, Marissa (September 4, 2014). "With his latest, Nashvillian Justin Townes Earle gives praise to single mothers and refuses to be pushed around". Nashville Scene. Retrieved September 13, 2014.
  20. ^ McPherson, David. "Dad-to-be Justin Townes Earle looks back at Nashville in new record". No Depression. Retrieved July 11, 2017.
  21. ^ "Justin Townes Earle Album & Song Chart History – Billboard 200". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved March 24, 2012.
  22. ^ "Justin Townes Earle Album & Song Chart History – Country Albums". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved March 24, 2012.
  23. ^ "Justin Townes Earle Album & Song Chart History – Rock Albums". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved March 24, 2012.
  24. ^ "Justin Townes Earle Album & Song Chart History – Heatseekers Albums". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved March 24, 2012.
  25. ^ "Justin Townes Earle Album & Song Chart History – Independent Albums". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved March 24, 2012.
  26. ^ "Justin Townes Earle Album & Song Chart History – Folk Albums". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved March 24, 2012.

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