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 33)
Nashville, Tennessee, United States
Genres American, folk, country, rockabilly, blues, soul
Occupation(s) Singer-songwriter, musician
Instruments Vocals, Acoustic guitar
Labels Vagrant, Loose Music
Associated acts Steve Earle, Dukes, dawn Landes, Jason Isbell, Old Crow Medicine Show, Caitlin Rose
Website justintownesearle.com
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.[2]


Earle played in two Nashville bands: the Distributors, a rock band, and a ragtime and bluegrass combo the Swindlers.[3] Earle spent some time as guitarist and keyboardist for his father's touring band the Dukes.[3]

Earle developed a hybrid style of music mixing folk, blues and country.[3] In 2007, he released a six-song EP called Yuma.[3] He then signed a contract with Chicago's Bloodshot Records and he released an album called The Good Life in 2008.[3]

In 2009 Earle co-billed The Big Surprise Tour with Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, Old Crow Medicine Show and The Felice Brothers[4] and released the album Midnight at the Movies.[3] In September 2009, Earle received an Americana Music Award for New and Emerging Artist of the Year.[5]

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.[3] He also appeared in an episode of the HBO television series Treme with his father.[6]

In 2011 Earle received the Americana Music Award in the Song of the Year category for "Harlem River Blues".[7] His album of the same name has been described as having a "gently flowing, urban Americana sound, with horns, organ and tangy electric guitar".[7] That year he also contributed a cover of Maybe Baby on the 2011 tribute album Rave on Buddy Holly and played Newport Folk Festival and the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival.[citation needed]

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."[8]

Earle produced Wanda Jackson's album Unfinished Business in 2012.[9]

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) and the Nelsonville Music Festival (2008 and 2011).[10][11]

Earle was born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee. He was raised by his mother alone, who was always hard at work. He first got hooked on drugs when he was 12 years old. He began writing and playing the guitar on his own, which led to him getting a publishing contract at 16. However, he lost it due to his lifestyle. Later, he was also kicked out of his dad's band.

According to Earle's on-stage song introductions, he has lived for some years in Chicago, in the Rogers Park neighborhood while holding on to sundry non-musician jobs.

He was sober for eight years after stints in rehab, until a relapse September 2010, when he had a fight with an Indianapolis club owner over a broken mirror and his band's pay. This resulted in him spending the night in jail, followed by a month in an alcohol rehabilitation center. Earle has been sober since then.[1][12][13]

Earle moved to New York City in 2007, and currently lives in Nashville, Tennessee.[1]

Earle was married in 2013.[14]


Before having released five albums with Bloodshot Records which contained some previously released / published and also repackaged Swindlers compositions ( Lower East Side, Maria, Ain't Glad Im Leaving, Halfway to Jackson, Hard Living, Rogers Park, Far away in another town, Walk out, A desolate angels' blues, and more available online - http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B00RZDWFOY/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?qid=1433797410&sr=1-1&pi=AC_SY200_QL40&keywords=swindlers+aint&dpPl=1&dpID=51ogRSiV9UL&ref=plSrch ) . He released Single Mothers in September 2014 on Vagrant records with a follow up album named Absent Fathers which was released in January 2015.


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
  • Release date: March 3, 2009
  • Label: Bloodshot Records
  • Formats: CD, LP, music download
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
"—" denotes releases that did not chart


  1. ^ a b c Dollar, Steve (November 24, 2010). "Riding That Country Wagon". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved December 28, 2010. 
  2. ^ St John, Lauren. Hardcore Troubadour: The Life and Near Death of Steve Earle, Fourth Estate, 2002.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "Justin Townes Earle : Biography". CMT.com. March 25, 2008. Retrieved March 23, 2010. 
  4. ^ "Justin Townes Earle: Tour". Groundcontroltouring.com. Retrieved March 23, 2010. [dead link]
  5. ^ Photo by Ray Kennedy (September 21, 2009). "Buddy Miller, John Fogerty, Justin Townes Earle Amongst Notable Winners at Americana Music Awards :: Music :: News :: Paste". Pastemagazine.com. Retrieved March 23, 2010. 
  6. ^ "Steve and Justin Townes Earle on HBO's Treme". Youtube.com. Retrieved 13 February 2015. 
  7. ^ a b DeBarros, Paul (July 12, 2012) Justin Townes Earle and Tristen pack a double punch, The Seattle Times (Seattle, WA)
  8. ^ [1][dead link]
  9. ^ "Wanda Jackson 'In the Studio'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved February 13, 2015. 
  10. ^ "Past Shows." Stuart's Opera House: Nelsonville, Ohio. Stuart's Opera House: Nelsonville, Ohio, n.d. Web. !October 8, 2012.
  11. ^ “Nelsonville Music Festival.” Nelsonville Music Festival, n.d. Web. October 25, 2012.
  12. ^ "Earle Postpones Tour, Enters Rehab". nytimes.com. September 23, 2010. Retrieved September 23, 2010. 
  13. ^ "Justin Townes Earle review: A night in jail can't keep him down. [Music]". Louisville.com. September 18, 2010. Retrieved September 18, 2010. 
  14. ^ Moss, Marissa (4 September 2014). "With his latest, Nashvillian Justin Townes Earle gives praise to single mothers and refuses to be pushed around". Nashville Scene. Retrieved 13 September 2014. 
  15. ^ "Justin Townes Earle Album & Song Chart History – Billboard 200". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved March 24, 2012. 
  16. ^ "Justin Townes Earle Album & Song Chart History – Country Albums". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved March 24, 2012. 
  17. ^ "Justin Townes Earle Album & Song Chart History – Rock Albums". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved March 24, 2012. 
  18. ^ "Justin Townes Earle Album & Song Chart History – Heatseekers Albums". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved March 24, 2012. 
  19. ^ "Justin Townes Earle Album & Song Chart History – Independent Albums". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved March 24, 2012. 
  20. ^ "Justin Townes Earle Album & Song Chart History – Folk Albums". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved March 24, 2012. 

Other sources[edit]

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