Justin Townes Earle will return with his fifth album, Single Mothers, on September 9th. His first release on Vagrant and the follow-up to Nothing’s Gonna Change the Way You Feel About Me Now, the record finds the Americana songwriter singing “raw, honest and personal” songs from his new vantage point as a sober married man. On the record’s first single, “White Gardenias”, Earle pays tribute to an artist whom he credits with helping him find his own voice: the great Billie Holiday.
During a recent live performance of the tack, Earle said, “I owe a lot to listening to Billie Holiday sing to kind of keep me kind of back on the back edge of the beat.” “White Gardenias”‘s title and chorus refer to the outfit Holiday wore during her legendary 1956 comeback concert at Carnegie Hall. Over forlorn lapsteel and some expert finger-picking, the song plays like a ballad for a runaway lover. Earle imagines the iconic singer absconding after the show, heading to Grand Central Station and catching a train back to her birthplace in Baltimore. “So this song’s for Lady Day, wherever she is,” Earle continued. “She’s a wily one; I’m sure she’s out there somewhere.”
Listen to “White Gardenias” below.