[UPDATE 12/1/20]: A statement shared to Justin Townes Earle’s Facebook page on Monday confirmed that the official cause of death as determined by the medical examiner was an accidental overdose, likely from fentanyl-laced cocaine. The statement reads:

Three months after we lost Justin, the medical examiner has concluded that the cause of his death was an accidental drug overdose. Next to alcohol and cocaine the autopsy report revealed traces of fentanyl indicating that the usage of fentanyl-laced cocaine resulted in an overdose.

Even though Justin was very outspoken and concerned about the opioid epidemic and the dangers of the “legal” drugs fed by the pharmaceutical companies, he became the victim of a deadly dose of fentanyl. Illicit drugs laced with fentanyl are causing an enormous rise in overdoses, turning cocaine usage into an even deadlier habit. It only takes a few salt sized granules of fentanyl to cause an overdose. And in most cases, happens so fast that intervention likely could not reverse it.

Although legal, and available nearly everywhere, alcohol is a psychoactive, neurotoxic addictive narcotic. The effects of continual, long term alcohol intake is deadly. Addiction is a disease and there are many avenues and treatments to become and stay free from alcohol and drug usage.

If you or a loved one are struggling with substance addiction please know that you’re not alone and reach out for help.

Don’t lose hope. With love and health, Team JTE

In honor of his late son, Steve Earle is working on a record of Justin Townes Earle covers. The tribute album, dubbed J.T., will be released on January 4th, 2021—what would have been Justin’s 39th birthday. Listen to the first single from the album, “Harlem River Blues”, here.

[Originally published 8/21/20] Justin Townes Earle, son of outlaw country artist Steve Earle and an accomplished musician in his own right, has died at age 38. The singer-songwriter’s death was confirmed late Sunday evening with a social media post from his family.

“It is with tremendous sadness that we inform you of the passing of our son, husband, father and friend Justin,” the post 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.”

Justin was born on January 4th, 1982 to Steve Earle and his third of seven wives, Carol Ann Hunter, and was named after troubadour Townes Van Zandt who was a close friend and partner-in-crime to Earle. His mother was never keen on the name, as she held resentments toward the late folksinger.

Related: Tedeschi Trucks Band & Steve Earle Showcase Powerfully Contrasting Views Of The Blues At The Beacon [Photos/Videos]

“My mother hated Townes Van Zandt,” Earle told Rolling Stone. “My first name was supposed to be Townes, but my mother would not have it. She hated him because of the trouble that Dad and him got into, but she still played the music.”

Like his father, Justin had his share of problems with drugs and alcohol. Steve Earle, a recovering heroin addict who has been free of the habit for many years, was even forced to kick a young Justin out of his backing band, The Dukes, citing his son’s drug abuse. Yet Justin maintained in an interview on the Walking the Floor podcast in 2017 that he’s been sober since he started making records, “I got all my craziness out of the way as a coffeehouse musician and a roadie,” he said.

Justin’s promising solo career officially began with the release of his debut EP, Yuma, in 2007. The following year he was named Emerging Act of the Year at the Americana Music Honors & Awards. He would put out eight more records in the proceeding 13 years, with his most recent album, The Saint of Lost Causes, coming out just last year to critical acclaim. The title track to his 2010 album Harlem River Blues won Song of the Year at Americana Honors in 2011.

Justin Townes Earle is survived by his wife Jenn Marie Earle, and their three-year-old daughter, Etta St. James Earle.


[H/T Rolling Stone]