When Justin Townes Earle died in August at the age of 38, the music world mourned the talented singer-songwriter, but none more than his musician-father, Steve Earle. To honor his son, Steve Earle and the Dukes’ new album, J.T., features 10 songs penned by Justin and covered by the band, plus one classic tune from Steve.
That song, “Harlem River Blues,” which was the title track of Townes Earle’s 2010 album, and was re-recorded by his father and his band at New York City’s Electric Lady Studios, is out today; the LP will follow on what have been Justin’s 39th birthday, Jan. 4, 2021.
“The record is called J.T. because Justin was never called anything else until he was nearly grown,” Steve Earle said in a statement. For better or worse, right or wrong, I loved Justin Townes Earle more than anything else on this earth.
“That being said,” he continued, “I made this record, like every other record I’ve ever made…for me. It was the only way I knew to say goodbye.”
The album is described in a release as “somber in parts. [but] ultimately a rousing celebration of a life lived with passion and purpose.”
Listen to Steve’s version of “Harlem River Blues” below.
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.
Townes Earle’s songs recorded by Earle & the Dukes include 2007’s “I Don’t Care” and three from his full-length debut album. Also included is 2019’s “The Saint Of Lost Causes,” which was the title track of Townes Earle’s eighth and final studio album.
J.T. closes with “Last Words,” a song Steve wrote for Justin.
See below for J.T.‘s tracklisting.
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
All of the artist’s advances and royalties from J.T. will be donated to a trust for Etta St. James Earle, Townes Earle’s 3-year-old daughter.
Additionally, on Dec. 13, Steve Earle will host a virtual edition of the 6th Annual John Henry’s Friends Benefit Concert for Autism with City Winery. Performers include Earle & the Dukes, Emmylou Harris, Graham Nash, Jackson Browne, Lucinda Williams, Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires, and more. More info is available here.