Steve Earle Releases Heart-Wrenching Tribute To Late Son Justin Townes Earle, “Last Words”

Shervin Lainez

Last week, Steve Earle released an album titled J.T. in honor of his late son Justin Townes Earle.

Justin unfortunately passed in August of 2020 at the age of 38 due to an accidental overdose. Of course, the father and son duo shared a love of music, so what better way to honor J.T. than with an album.

The album, which is mostly composed solely of Justin Townes Earle covers, is a solid listen as a whole, but one song in particular stood out to me. It’s the final song of the album, and the only track that isn’t a JTE cover. Titled “Last Words,” the new tune song takes you into Justin’s life through the eyes of his father. It’s Steve’s recollection of his son’s birth, all the way up until their final conversation.

“Last thing I said was, “I love you”
And your last words to me were, “I love you too”

I don’t know why you hurt so bad
Just know you did, it makes me sad
Said everything I meant to say
I could not make it go away
Wherever you are traveling now
It doesn’t matter anyhow
Can’t help but wonder if you knew
You took a part of me away with you.”

Man, talk about ripping your heart out with this one. The pain is so evident in his voice as he goes through the emotional final conversation with his son. For Steve, his son’s addiction was a battle he knew all too well.

Steve, and Townes Van Zandt too for that matter (where Justin’s middle name comes from), both battled heroin addiction. Addiction is an awful and debilitating disease and it unfortunately took Justin and Townes from us at a young age.

Hats off to Steve for this beautiful song, a touching tribute to his son. Even in the most difficult of times, he was able to create this amazing piece of art to remember Justin.

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