Justin Townes Earle, the singer-songwriter known for his mix of old-timey roots music and modern-day Americana, has died at age 38. A rep for Earle’s label New West Records confirmed the musician’s death to Rolling Stone, though a cause of death was not immediately revealed.
Earle was raised in Nashville, but also lived in New York and, recently, in Portland, Oregon. According to a spokesperson, he died at his home in Nashville.
“It is with tremendous sadness that we inform you of the passing of our son, husband, father and friend Justin,” a post on Earle’s Instagram page read. “So many of you have relied on his music and lyrics over the years and we hope that his music will continue to guide you on your journeys. You will be missed dearly Justin.”
Earle, a tall and gangly figure with a from-another-time aesthetic, was a captivating presence onstage, where he’d sometimes address the crowd in a carnival barker style. But it was his albums, like 2010’s soulfulHarlem River Blues, 2017’s introspectiveKids in the Street, and last year’s shuffling, ominousThe Saint of Lost Causesthat best summed up his man-out-of-time appeal. A favorite in Americana music circles, he was named Emerging Act of the Year at the 2009 Americana Honors & Awards, and nominated as Artist of the Year in 2012.
“Had a lot of good times and made a lot of good music with JTE. So sad for his family tonight,” Jason Isbell tweeted. “He was always kind to me and he’s gone too soon,” wrote Margo Price.
“In a year that’s already taken too many from our small community, yet another light ascends and takes its place among the heavens,” Lucinda Williams posted on Instagram. “Our deepest condolences can only skim along the surface of this grief, and yet we send them — along with a promise to shine a bit brighter ourselves in his memory.”