Justin Townes Earle wanted to honor one of his favorite artists in song, but he admits it’s a harder proposition than it seems. Ultimately, though, he succeeded with a beautiful new song, “White Gardenias.”
“I was thinking about Billie Holiday because she had always been a very big influence to me,” Earle says. “She was always known for wearing all white. I read a quote from her one time where she said, ‘Every night, I had the white dress and the white shoes, and they brought me the white junk and the white gardenias.’”
He adds, “It’s really hard to really pay tribute to an artist. Most songs that are meant to be tributes end up being embarrassments. It was something that I had to take very slowly, to figure out how to do, and I finally figured out how to represent Billie with ‘White Gardenias.’”
The eloquent composition comes from Single Mothers, Earle’s first release on Vagrant Records that is scheduled to arrive Sept. 9. It’s his first album since 2012, and he’ll support it with a slew of tour dates across the country. However, his next show will be on Friday night (July 18) in Nashville, opening for Dwight Yoakam at the Woods at Fontanel.
Take a look at Justin Townes Earle’s solo acoustic rendition of “White Gardenias.”