Many of us have come to know and love Justin Townes Earle’s unique brand of folk/country music. His most recent release, Harlem River Blues, is one that offers something for just about everyone. From the old time gospel sound of the title track to the almost Elvis-like quality of “Move Over Mama”, Justin Townes Earl provides his listeners with a variety of different sounds for almost any occasion.
Despite the seemingly upbeat nature of his music, it has become increasingly apparent that Justin Townes Earle has more going on in his life than listeners might initially expect. Although it is well known that JTE has battled this addiction for several years, his recent arrest at his September 16th show at club Radio Radio in Indianapolis gives fans of his music some insight into what could prove to be an enormous detriment to the musician’s career.
On September 16th, excited fans of Justin Townes Earle crowded into the sold out event at Indianapolis based venue Radio Radio expecting to enjoy a night full of music, friends, and general fun. However,according to My Old Kentucky Blog, that is not exactly the experience that patrons received. JTE arrived at Radio Radio that night having already been drinking and it only went downhill from there. He is said to have been complaining about the sound quality during sound check; however, most of the problems began once he took the stage. After some unpleasant banter with members of the audience, Justin Townes Earle walked off the stage only to go wreak havoc on both the venue itself and the venue owner. As a result, JTE was physically removed from Radio Radio. Once the police arrived, the inebriated musician resisted arrest and was then pinned to the ground, handcuffed, and removed from the premises.
According to a statement given by JTE in regards to the accusations against him, “reports surfacing online about the incident in Indianapolis are not accurate.” He goes on to mention that he is not to comment on any “pending criminal matter” but that he “[looks] forward to his day in court”. However, those in attendance at the unsatisfactory show may not exactly agree with this statement.
Although it does not seem likely that his arrest will completely devastate Justin Townes Earle’s career, it would suffice to say that there will be at least slight damage. Based on his actions toward Radio Radio and its staff, it is highly probable that JTE will not be asked to play the venue anytime soon, if ever again. It could also be possible that Justin Townes Earle has little to no desire to play the venue again, but that’s mostly just personal opinion. Fans of JTE who attended the inadequate show that particular evening may or may not decide against spending their time and money to bother with another show; however, it seems far more likely that Justin Townes Earl will be given another chance.
This previously mentioned “second chance” might have come in the form of a performance only a few nights later at Chicago’s own Lincoln Hall. Here, Justin Townes Earle made up for a substandard performance in Indianapolis by performing remarkably well and being on his best behavior.
So the question remains: Will this arrest be detrimental to Justin Townes Earle’s career as a musician? Not likely. After the fiasco in Indianapolis, JTE made the decision to temporarily suspend his remaining tour dates and enter a rehabilitation center. According to his website, “[he] is strongly committed to confronting his on-going struggle with addiction.” So although fans may not hear much from the singer for a little while, the entire situation will most definitely prove beneficial to both Justin Townes Earle’s music career as well as his own physical health.
Editor's note: I fully stand by Daytrotter's recent tweet: "Don't care what nobody says: Justin Townes Earle is a damn good man." I also endorse ya'll listening to his latest Daytrotter session and supporting him by buying tickets to see him when he hits the road again later this year.