HomeEntertainmentMusicWATCH: Steve Earle Covers Late Son Justin Townes Earle’s ‘Harlem River Blues’ on ‘Kimmel’

WATCH: Steve Earle Covers Late Son Justin Townes Earle’s ‘Harlem River Blues’ on ‘Kimmel’

by Josh Lanier
(Photo by Robin Marchant/Getty Images)

Steve Earle kept his son’s name and music alive by performing a cover of Justin Townes Earle’s “Harlem River Blues” on Jimmy Kimmel Live Thursday.

Steve Earle recently released his album J.T., which is a tribute to his late singer-songwriter son. “Harlem River Blues” is Townes Earle’s most notable song. Rolling Stone said he made his national television performance on the Late Show With David Letterman. The track earned Earle Song of the Year honors at the 2011 Americana Honors & Awards.

Earle released J.T. on January 4, on what would have been Justin Townes Earle’s 39th birthday. The album features 10 tracks, including “I Don’t Care” and “The Saint of Lost Causes.”

The 38-year-old Townes Earle died of an accidental drug overdose in August. He left a 3-year-old daughter behind. Proceeds from J.T. will go to Justin’s daughter.

Steve Earle: Making Music Only Way I Could Say Goodbye

Steve Earle said he struggled to deal with his son’s death, but he knew that the only way he would be able to understand it was through music. The proceeds will go to his granddaughter and the music will carry on his son’s legacy. However, Earle said the album was to help him heal.

“The record is called J.T. because Justin was never called anything else until he was nearly grown. Well, when he was little, I called him Cowboy,” Earle told Saving Country Music. “For better or worse, right or wrong, I loved Justin Townes Earle more than anything else on this earth. [This record] was the only way I knew to say goodbye.”

As Earle’s band wrapped up “Harlem River Blues” Thursday night, he ended the set by saying goodbye to his son.

“See you when I get there, Cowboy,” Earle says.