Exclusive Q and A: Justin Townes Earle Comes Clean about Rehab, Music, and His Future

OurStage Exclusive InterviewsJustin Townes Earle, the son of much-loved music icon Steve Earle, may be Nashville royalty, but you’d never know it by talking to him.

Even after winning all kinds of critical and popular kudos for his 2010 album Harlem River Blues, the now thirty-year-old Earle stayed focused on his music and moving his career forward. He’s done just that on Nothing Gonna Change the Way You Feel About Me Now, an Americana feast filled with blues and soul. As lush as the music is, it’s the personal stories told in the songs”about his father, loneliness and longing”that grab at the listeners’ heart strings.

Just before he began his spring tour behind the just-released album, Earle spoke to OurStage about his music, his life and just what he hopes to find moving ahead.

OS: You had amazing success with Harlem River Blues, winning all kinds of awards including the Americana Music Association Award for Song of the Year for the title track. Now you’re again nominated for Americana Music Association Awards for your latest album Nothing Gonna Change the Way You Feel About Me Now. That’s great, but why did you decide to turn around and release another album so quickly?

JTE: I just didn’t see that after Harlem River Blues it was any time to rest on my laurels. It did a lot of things (including winning popular acclaim and media attention) that my other records didn’t do. In this environment, in this industry, it definitely takes extreme hard work and extreme luck to make it these days. Also, I keep writing and getting ideas for records.


The EditoriaList: Top Seven Musical Rock Star Progeny

It’s always nice to see quality music being made by the offspring of our beloved stars and cultural icons. Most often, we wish the celebrity kids would just go away, taking their vanity projects with them. But the people on this list have shown integrity and originality in a business where that is a challenge for many would-be artists, and they handle with composure the additional burden of being compared to their famous parents. Two Beatles kids made the list, but hey, there could have been more (sorry Julian Lennon, James McCartney, and especially Dhani Harrison, who I wanted to include just cause he seems cool).


7. Ziggy Marley

Ziggy Marley is everything you might want from the son of Bob Marley. He fronted his family band, The Melody Makers, and then struck out on his own with some solid solo records, continued his father’s Tuff Gong record label (forming Tuff Gong Worldwide, technically a different label), founded a charity and launched a comic book, Marijuana Man. You might think a guy like Ziggy would go against the beaten path, but when OurStage talked with him recently, he was most engaged when asked about the comic and reefer in general.