Justin Townes Earle, Musician Son of Steve Earle, Dies

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Justin Townes Earle, a singer-songwriter and son of musician Steve Earle, has died. His death was announced on his Facebook page on August 23, 2020. The younger Earle was 38; the cause of death was not immediately revealed. Later that year, his family said he died from an accidental overdose of fentanyl-laced cocaine.

Here’s the brief announcement in its entirety: “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.
You will be missed dearly Justin 💔

“I’ve crossed oceans
Fought freezing rain and blowing sand
I’ve crossed lines and roads and wondering rivers
Just looking for a place to land”

Justin Townes Earle was given his middle name in honor of his father’s mentor, the musician Townes Van Zandt.

On Aug. 24, Steve Earle posted a tweet in tribute to his son.

The younger Earle released his first recordings in 2007, a six-song EP called Yuma. That led to a contract with Bloodshot Records and a debut LP in 2008, The Good Life.

A 2015 press release notes that Justin Townes Earle had served multiple stints in rehab but was now sober. He released his fifth studio album, Absent Fathers, in 2015. Steve Earle has had a history of substance abuse issues, and left Justin with the boy’s mother when he was two. The father and son reunited a decade later. Justin subsequently played with his father’s touring band, the Dukes.

Watch father and son perform with Jackson Browne in 2015

Justin Townes Earle was born January 4, 1982, in Nashville. He is credited with nine albums, including 2019’s The Saint of Lost Causes.

Related: Our 2017 interview with Steve Earle

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