On the forthcoming album, J.T., Steve Earle & The Dukes pay tribute to Steve’s late son, Justin Townes Earle (J.T.), who passed away on August 20, 2020 in Nashville. The album will be released digitally on what would have been Justin’s 39th birthday, January 4, 2021, via New West Records.
“The record is called J.T. because Justin was never called anything else until he was nearly grown. Well, when he was little, I called him Cowboy,” explains Steve Earle. “For better or worse, right or wrong, I loved Justin Townes Earle more than anything else on this earth. That being said, I made this record, like every other record I’ve ever made… for me. It was the only way I knew to say goodbye.”
Steve Earle has already shared the track “Harlem River Blues.” Listen HERE. Fans who pre-order J.T. in digital format will instantly receive “Harlem River Blues.” The CD and vinyl editions of the album will follow on March 19, 2021.
The poignant ‘Harlem River Blues’ is one of Justin’s best-known compositions and took Song of the Year honors at the 2011 Americana Music Awards ceremony following Justin’s win in the Emerging Artist of the Year category in 2009. Check out Justin’s original recording of ‘Harlem River Blues,’ which was the title track of his 2010 album, HERE.
J.T. finds Steve Earle & The Dukes covering 10 of Justin’s songs – from ‘I Don’t Care,‘ which appeared on his 2007 debut EP, Yuma, and a trio of selections from his full-length debut album, The Good Life (‘Ain’t Glad I’m Leaving,’ ‘Far Away In Another Town’ and ‘Lone Pine Hill‘) to later compositions like 2017’s ‘Champagne Corolla‘ and 2019’s ‘The Saint Of Lost Causes,‘ which was the title track of Justin’s eighth and final studio album. J.T. closes with ‘Last Words,‘ a song Steve wrote for Justin. See below for track listing.
Penning Justin’s obituary for The New York Times, Ben Sisario noted, “from the start Mr. Earle drew the respect of critics and a…devoted following, writing songs of heartbreak, loss and family with a dark narrative undertow and a sepia-toned folk-rock style that could hark back to Mr. [Townes] Van Zandt or Hank Williams.”
100% of the artist advances and royalties from J.T. will be donated to a trust for Etta St. James Earle, the three-year-old daughter of Justin and Jenn Earle. While sombre in parts, the album is ultimately a rousing celebration of a life lived with passion and purpose. The recording features the latest incarnation of Steve’sbacking band, The Dukes – Chris Masterson on guitar, Eleanor Whitmore on fiddle & vocals, Ricky Ray Jackson on pedal steel, guitar & dobro, Brad Pemberton on drums & percussion, and Jeff Hill on acoustic & electric bass.
On December 13, Steve Earle, Luck Productions and City Winery will host the 6thAnnual John Henry’s Friends Benefit Concert for Autism. This year’s event will be a virtual one, featuring performances by Steve Earle & The Dukes, Emmylou Harris, Graham Nash, Jackson Browne, Lucinda Williams, Jason Isbell & Amanda Shires, and many more. 100% of donations will go to The Keswell School – an institution close to Earle’s heart at which his youngest son and the event’s namesake, John Henry, is a student. For further details, please go to luck.stream. The show is by donation.
Steve Earle – J.T. Track Listing:
1. I Don’t Care
2. Ain’t Glad I’m Leaving
4. Far Away In Another Town
5. They Killed John Henry
6. Turn Out My Lights
7. Lone Pine Hill
8. Champagne Corolla
9. The Saint Of Lost Causes
10. Harlem River Blues
11. Last Words