Steve Earle has announced plans to record a cover album of songs written by his late son Justin Townes Earle. The yet-untitled record will find Earle joined by his longtime backing band The Dukes, and serve as a follow-up to 2020’s Ghosts of West Virginia.
Justin Townes Earle, Steve’s son with his third of seven wives, passed away on August 20th at the age of 38. While no cause of death was initially provided, a police spokesperson has since told media outlets that the singer-songwriter died of a “probable drug overdose.”
No tracklist has been provided for the tribute album, but it is set to draw on the younger Earle’s 11 years of recorded music. All advances and royalties from the record will be donated to a trust for Justin’s daughter, Etta St. James Earle. The album is set to begin recording in October, with a release date to coincide with what would have been Justin’s 39th birthday on January 4th, 2021.
Steve Earle is no stranger to cover albums, as in 2009 he released a tribute to his longtime friend Townes Van Zandt, after whom Justin received his middle name. Then just last year, Steve released his tribute to Guy Clark, simply titled Guy. Since providing the soundtrack to the stage production Coal Country about the Upper Big Branch Mine disaster of 2010, Earle has released an anti-Donald Trump song for Record Store Day entitled “Times Like These”.
“This is a song I wrote for a moment at the beginning of the Trumpian nightmare that I planned on releasing closer to the election, but I reckon its time has come today,” Earle said upon the single’s release.