The Grammy-award winning American rock, country and folk legend STEVE EARLE has recorded a tribute album to his musician son, Justin Townes Earle who died last August in Nashville, Tennessee, at age 38.
Titled “J.T.” the album consists of ten of his son’s songs and one original composition, “Last Words” (the audio is shared below.)
Paradoxically, this new song feels impersonal even as it recounts their last phone call. The details are intimate, though generic. Though Steve reveals more about their relationship in liner notes and interviews.
How can you blame a father for not being vulnerable in grief? The hurt is too raw to endure, and perhaps this is how it’s best played out…
Other songs include “Far Away in Another Town” (from the The Good Life album 2008) and “Champagne Corolla” (from the 2017 Kids in the Street album) to shed new light on what beautifully constructed compositions they are. Papa Earle’s singing is more husky and grizzle-edged than his son’s, but he fully inhabits every breath.
In the final analysis, “J.T.” does what a tribute album is supposed to do: it ennobles the work of the original, to remind us what greatness was created by the artist, and to allow us to begin the gentle unhurried process of healing…
A wonderfully rememorative set of translations, marked by paternal grief
Main photo credit: Tom Dellinger