Just got home from seeing Steve Earle at the Lakewood Theatre in Dallas. Fabulous show. Check out an upcoming edition of the News-Telegram for a complete review. Read more about Earle's new tribute CD, TOWNES.
Even though he never achieved world-wide fame - and he drank and gambled away any fortune he might have accumulated - Townes Van Zandt (1944-1977) influenced a lot of the big stars in the music industry. Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Robert Plant, Alison Krauss and the Dixie Chicks have covered his tunes. Singer/songwriter Steve Earle, his friend for many years, has just released a tribute CD called TOWNES that is getting a lot of buzz.
Earle once said, "Townes Van Zandt is the best songwriter in the whole world and I'll stand on Bob Dylan's coffee table in my cowboy boots and say that."
While I've known about Townes' music for years - mostly through other artists' covers, it wasn't until I heard about the Earle CD that I went out on the Internet and found clips of Townes' performances and began to appreciate the brilliance of his songwriting skills.
Here's a clip from YouTube with Earle and his son, Justin Townes Earle, doing "Mr. Mudd and Mr. Gold."
Townes' music is not, by nature or subject matter, happy. It's full of stripped down, bare folk songs spilling over with sadness, loss and longing. Here's a video I found on YouTube of Townes in the later part of his career/life singing "No Lonesome Tune." Townes' friend and fellow Texan Guy Clark put this on his latest CD, "Workbench Songs."
Check out my review of the CD "Townes" - and hopefully an interview with Steve Earle - in an upcoming edition of your News-Telegram.
TOWNES was waiting on my desk this morning. It's one of the most powerful CDs I've heard in ages. I dare anyone to listen - I mean really listen - to these songs and not be moved. Earle has honored the gifts of his mentor and friend, which is exactly what he intended. Bravo!
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