Singer-songwriter and musician Justin Townes Earle is set to return on the scene with his new album The Saint of Lost Causes on May 24th, 2019. On the 12-song set is Earle’s single “Appalachian Nightmare,” which premiered it’s video today via Stereogum.
The video began with a blurred black figure walking through what appeared to be a field. It then transitions into a man smoking a cigarette then back to Earl playing the guitar. Earle begins the song by talking about his past- from being born in Cincinnati, OH, to being put out by his dad at the age of 15.
I was born in Cincinnati
My daddy worked on the river
The work dried up back around that time
And he took us down to West Virginia
See my night trouble started early
I was stealing and gettin’ in fights
Smoking and drinking by age thirteen
Skipping class and getting high
When I quit school at fifteen
My daddy put me out
My mama cried, waved goodbye
Never heard such a lonesome sound
The video itself displayed a powerful message though it’s lyrics about crime not about race, but rather a way to survive in a world in which one feels insignificant.
Through his lyrics, Earle described a life a crime after being kicked out by his father for dropping out of school. He states that he robs drugstores and uses drugs to get by. When one robbery went wrong, he shot and killed a cop. Earle ends the song by saying that he regrets the decisions that he has made including killing the cop and wish that he could have been a better person for his mom.
When speaking with Stereogum, Earle says “I want this song to say that if you are marginalized, you will find anyway you can to survive. Drug problems and criminal behavior are not a problem of color, creed, or race.” The music video was directed by Joshua Britt & Neilson Hubbard of Neighborhoods Apart Productions.
Photo Credit: Owen Ela