Troubled days are behind me now and I know they’re gonna let me in

Justin Townes Earle, an accomplished alt-country singer and songwriter who was a son of the country-rock firebrand Steve Earle, died on Thursday at his home in Nashville. He was 38. His death was confirmed late Sunday by his record label, New West, which did not give a cause. “It is with tremendous sadness that we inform you of the passing of our son, husband, father and friend Justin,” read a post on the younger Mr. Earle’s Facebook page. “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.” posted by octothorpe (16 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
posted by Bob Regular at 4:09 PM on August 24
A lot of my facebook friends are people I know from Postcard2 and other alt-country mailing lists, and when this news broke yesterday, it was just a steady stream of people who knew him. I only knew his music, but it was powerful and beautiful.
posted by jacquilynne at 4:11 PM on August 24
I met him once. He seemed like a genuinely nice guy.

posted by thivaia at 4:21 PM on August 24

posted by Thrakburzug at 4:34 PM on August 24
Justin Townes Earle should have annoyed me, considering who is daddy was, and how he mirrored them—but I was fond of him. I saw him live as the first opener for the Mavericks, the second opener was Lucinda Williams, and there was a lot for those two to talk about—about mythology, about showing your roots, and then hiding them, about making country music self consciously literary when you come from a family that was lauded for the fact. I wonder if they talked about money, about who had it, who wanted it, and how to get it. What do you do as the son of Steve Earle, named after Townes Van Zandt, except sing pretty, play guitar prettier, write more smoothly than your daddy, and die stupidly young. I don’t know if he was a better song writer, but I have spent more time listening to Justin than Steve. I liked him better when he was funnier, when he was plainer, when he was less violent, and less “western”. He wrote one of the great working class songs of the year, and his cover of Graceland had a quiet plainness that swallowed Simon’s overwrought metaphor
posted by PinkMoose at 4:34 PM on August 24 [8 favorites]
posted by gauche at 4:46 PM on August 24
Oh, no.

posted by allthinky at 5:48 PM on August 24

Here’s that Graceland cover, for those wondering.
posted by kaibutsu at 6:00 PM on August 24
He wrote one of the great working class songs of the year

Would you mind sharing the title of that song? I’d love to hear it and know very little about this gentleman’s music.
posted by mediareport at 6:12 PM on August 24

Well shit. I’m far more bummed out about this than I would have expected. And not just because I didn’t realize he was a couple years younger than me. A couple songs off “The Good Life” have stuck with me since it came out, and that record alone is enough to cement him in this half-assed songwriter’s repertoire till I flake out myself.
posted by aspersioncast at 6:39 PM on August 24 [1 favorite]
sorry, that song is Champagne Corolla.
posted by PinkMoose at 7:48 PM on August 24
posted by TheCoug at 7:54 PM on August 24
Thank you for this post. I was considering making one, but I just feel too defeated.
posted by Lonnrot at 7:57 PM on August 24
I was hoping that someone else would make the post but after a day of waiting, I figured I had to.
posted by octothorpe at 8:26 PM on August 24
Ah, shit. I just found out about this.

Well put, PinkMoose. Thanks for that.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 8:36 PM on August 24

Life’s coincidences are strange: I first heard of Justin on Saturday when a song of his (his cover of The Replacements’ Can’t Hardly Wait) came up in the Townes Van Zandt radio playlist on Spotify and I made a mental note to listen to more of him after I looked him up. The next time I thought about that was when I opened Pitchfork on Sunday evening (looking for their Sunday older album review) to find out that he had died.

posted by urbanlenny at 8:39 PM on August 24

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