Justin Townes Earle, a prolific Americana singer-songwriter and the son of outlaw country performer Steve Earle, died at 38, his Facebook account confirmed on August 23. “It is with tremendous sadness that we inform you of the passing of our son, husband, father and friend Justin,” a statement on his page read. “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.” Named for his father’s hero Townes Van Zandt, Earle played in bands across Nashville since his teens, eventually touring with his father in the Dukes. He was fired from the band due to drug use and later spoke openly about his experience with heroin addiction, becoming sober as a solo performer.
Earle released his debut in 2007, the EP Yuma, followed by his first album The Good Life in 2008. He released eight albums in total, most recently 2019’s The Saint of Lost Causes. The Facebook statement ended with lines from his 2014 song “Looking for a Place to Land”: “I’ve crossed oceans / Fought freezing rain and blowing sand,” it read. “I’ve crossed lines and roads and wondering rivers / Just looking for a place to land.” Musicians remembered Earle on social media, with singer-songwriter Jason Isbell tweeting, “Had a lot of good times and made a lot of good music with JTE. So sad for his family tonight.” Earle leaves behind his wife, Jenn Marie, and his 3-year-old daughter, Etta St. James.