Am I that lonely tonight? Sadly, and tragically we have found the answer to this question. I am not familiar with Justin Townes Earle’s work. I know who is dad is. I know of the addictive traits in both. I know of loneliness in all of us.
Weirdly, I instantly though of Elvis Presley’s “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” before I listened to this. Where the singer in Elvis’s song was asking the question of a love that had drifted apart, Justin Townes Earle is asking the question to himself. He is beyond the caring of if YOU are lonesome, he is lonesome goddammit! No one else is involved! It is a far, far more lonesome feeling when only your self is involved. In this life, one tries to be the best person they can be…showing strength outwardly to the public whereas inside you are doubting every thing that exists, but you continue, to try to be the best person in your own eyes because that still means something.
Some of us hit the point where that no longer means anything anymore and we take it upon our own hands to escape the suffering of being lonely. I can only relate to this song from my own experiences. I have not walked in Justin’s shoes but they sure look mighty familiar. In my experience, I had my dreams, my future, my life, basically, ripped away unexpectedly. But you go on, it’s survival instinct. It is not a happy world that I live in, especially what goes on inside of my head. The loneliness is sometimes deafening.
People try to help. God bless them. But they aren’t living my life. Yes, I get that lonely, and so far, I have been strong enough to not turn to drugs or alcohol. I have been down that road before when I thought I was happy! I have been that lonely. I think we all have had thoughts of ending it all and not being around anymore. I do constantly! Everyday life is hard enough, throw in deaths of everything that you love and care about and it will throw one into a depressive spiral that makes me retreat from all human contact. It’s more comfortable to me. I spend more time in that zone than I do in happy mode. The effed up thing is when I am in one of these spirals I tend to keep swimming down exploring deeper depths. It’s a fucked self-hate thing.
This song’s tone and words are very haunting and the thing is there’s nothing anyone can do to help the loneliness. It’s mostly a battle in our heads. Creative types seem more sensitive and tuned into feelings and wading through them to help create their art. We all have journeys to walk through. Some journeys are more tragic and filled with heartbreak than others. Justin’s journey sounds very heartbreaking, modern day Hank Williams-esque vibe. RIP Justin. I never explored his work. I will now but I better be in a decent place mentally before I do.
Am I that lonely tonight? Yes, I can relate to this, but for now, I am trying to get better…but the world outside is not helping much these days…for any of us. It’s a messed up feeling when you know your happiest days are behind you.
Again, I hope you are at peace Justin, the ones left behind are the ones that are hurting now.
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Creem – America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – October 1972 (Volume 4, Number 5)
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Creem -America’s Only Rock ‘N’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – November 1971 (Volume 3, Number 6)
“Sure, we don’t pay much but then who else do ya know who’ll publish you?”