Locals on the Tube: Justin Townes Earle Tonight on Letterman, The Black Keys Saturday on SNL



On the heels of that much-blogged-about altercation with venue staff in Indianapolis back in September, Justin Townes Earle’s immediate future seemed a bit hazy. Even with a freshly released, critically acclaimed record hitting the streets (Harlem River Blues), folks weren’t sure if touring was still in the cards for JTE. But after seeking treatment for his substance-abuse problems, Earle came back stronger than ever, playing a powerful two-night run here in his former hometown — The Spin was present for the second night of said run — and launching back into a touring cycle. As Earle told our own Jewly Hight in November, “I've dealt with [addiction] most of my life. It's really one of those things that you hold a very light grip on, no matter how powerful you think you are, no matter what you do. It rears its ugly head when it rears its ugly head.”

But when the beast reared its head this time, Earle seems to have totally dominated it with a full nelson. He’s just about to play a series of “special European shows” this month, which will be followed by a lengthy stretch of U.S. dates in February. But first, Townes Van Zandt’s namesake will be making his network television debut tonight on The Late Show With David Letterman — lead guests include Jennifer Connelly and Dr. Mehmet Oz. And while we’re on the topic of people who either have or currently do reside in Nashville performing on national television, we’d be remiss to leave out current Nashville residents The Black Keys, who will be appearing on Saturday Night Live this weekend alongside ol’ Rubberface himself, Jim Carrey. No word yet on whether or not the Keys will be participating in a rock dude comedy skit. I’d also like to speak on behalf of decent, interesting people everywhere in thanking both JTE and the Keys for not playing Leno.

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