Justin Townes Earle (born January 4, 1982) is an American singer-songwriter and musician. Earle records with Bloodshot Records and has five released albums from since 2007. He is the son of alternative country artist Steve Earle.
Earle grew up in South Nashville, Tennessee, with his mother, Carol Ann Hunter Earle. His father Steve Earle gave Justin his middle name in honor of his mentor Townes van Zandt. He left Justin's mother when Justin was 2.
Earle played in two Nashville bands, a rock band called the Distributors and a ragtime and bluegrass combo called the Swindlers. Earle spent some time as guitarist and keyboardist for his father's touring band the Dukes.
Earle developed a hybrid style of music by mixing folk, blues and country. In 2007, he released a six-song EP called Yuma. He then signed a contract with Chicago's Bloodshot Records and he released an album called The Good Life in 2008.
In 2009, Earle co-billed The Big Surprise Tour with Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, Old Crow Medicine Show and The Felice Brothers and released the album Midnight at the Movies. In September 2009, Earle received an Americana Music Award for New and Emerging Artist of the Year.
In 2010 he released the album Harlem River Blues and the album Nothing's Gonna Change the Way You Feel About Me Now in 2012. He also appeared in an episode of the HBO television series Treme with his father.
In 2011, Earle received the Americana Music Award for Song of the Year category for "Harlem River Blues". His album of the same name has been described as having a "gently flowing, urban Americana sound, with horns, organ and tangy electric guitar". That year he also contributed a cover of Maybe Baby on the 2011 tribute album Rave On Buddy Holly and played Newport Folk Festival and the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival.
The album Nothing's Gonna Change the Way You Feel About Me Now was listed at #37 on Rolling Stone's list of the top 50 albums of 2012, saying "The son of country-rock renegade Steve Earle has grown into a songwriter to rival his dad."
Earle produced Wanda Jackson's album Unfinished Business in 2012.
Earle played the Grand Ole Opry in 2008, Historical WSM, South By Southwest (2008-2010, 2012), the historic Beacon Theater (May 2009), Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion (September, 2009), Bonnaroo (2009) Bumbershoot (2010), the East Coast Blues & Roots Music Festival (Byron Bay, Australia), 2012, the Bowery Ballroom (March 2010) and the Nelsonville Music Festival (2008 and 2011).
Earle says he was abusing "hard drugs" by the time he was 12 years old. In September 2010 he had a fight with an Indianapolis club owner over a broken mirror and his band's pay. Afterwards he spent the night in jail and a month in an alcohol rehabilitation center.
Earle moved to New York City in 2007.