Saturday, January 4, 2014

Townes Van Zandt- Columbine

Been putting together a winter mix for a few friends, and I didn’t include this song.  It feels more like spring to me, maybe because a columbine is a late spring flower.  It’s a beauty, though, this one.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Emmylou Harris- Pancho and Lefty (Townes Van Zandt cover)

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Sitting here tonight listening to the Townes Van Zandt version of Ewan MacColl’s “Dirty Old Town”, made most famous by the Pogues.  It’s sad to listen to—a bad recording, really.  Townes is in the last year of his life, and though he’s far from being an old man, his voice is shot.  He sounds 80.

It’s not great music, but it’s powerful, even if it’s just a touching (though hardly necessary) reminder of human frailty.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Townes Van Zandt- Two Girls (Live at the Old Quarter)

Somewhere deep inside us all, there’s a lonesome hillbilly.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Townes Van Zandt- Columbine


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Emmylou Harris- Pancho & Lefty  (Townes Van Zandt cover)

What’s not to love here?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Now that I’m finally feeling a bit rested and clearheaded, here are some Record Store Day purchases.
The Mynah Birds
A short-lived Motown band from 1966, the MBs featured Neil Young and Rick James (bitch!).  It’s kinda like the Stones or Them, with a little psychedelic feel to it.  It’s pretty great, I think.
New Multitudes
A couple of studio tracks and a couple of demos are on this EP from the alt-country supergroup.  The demos are the real find here.  All lyrics are by Woody Guthrie (whoever that is).
Sufjan Stevens/Rosie Thomas
This is fun stuff from two of my favorite artists.  It makes some generous post-Bon-Iverian use of the auto tuner, which adds an eerie synthetic quality to two of the more painfully earnest voices in indie pop.
Townes Van Zandt
This is a 1987 LP from Townes, and it’s a good one.  The production is refreshingly clean— I had worries about a 1980s Nashville country album that featured a DX-7.  It’s country, though, with some genuinely decent harmonica work, which is pretty rare.
Mates of State
This is an album of covers from indie pop’s durable spouses.  I hadn’t heard any of this, and was a bit worried when a friend told me (post-purchase) that he’d seen them playing this material live and was underwhelmed.  But it’s actually very good, and they make the covers their own.  I still prefer their music when it’s just the two of them playing, but the slightly larger ensemble really works well on this one.
There were other non-purchases that I’ll get when I have a chance— the Uncle Tupelo LPs were pricy, though entirely worth the money.  They should be around a while, though.  There were a couple of killer blues anthologies by Skip James and Mississippi John Hurt, and a live Cohen set, which will probably be in my next batch of purchases.  Seeing as I get paid in records, I figured this was the best allocation of my “funds” for the day.
Happy Record Store Day, planet Earth.

Now that I’m finally feeling a bit rested and clearheaded, here are some Record Store Day purchases.

The Mynah Birds

A short-lived Motown band from 1966, the MBs featured Neil Young and Rick James (bitch!).  It’s kinda like the Stones or Them, with a little psychedelic feel to it.  It’s pretty great, I think.

New Multitudes

A couple of studio tracks and a couple of demos are on this EP from the alt-country supergroup.  The demos are the real find here.  All lyrics are by Woody Guthrie (whoever that is).

Sufjan Stevens/Rosie Thomas

This is fun stuff from two of my favorite artists.  It makes some generous post-Bon-Iverian use of the auto tuner, which adds an eerie synthetic quality to two of the more painfully earnest voices in indie pop.

Townes Van Zandt

This is a 1987 LP from Townes, and it’s a good one.  The production is refreshingly clean— I had worries about a 1980s Nashville country album that featured a DX-7.  It’s country, though, with some genuinely decent harmonica work, which is pretty rare.

Mates of State

This is an album of covers from indie pop’s durable spouses.  I hadn’t heard any of this, and was a bit worried when a friend told me (post-purchase) that he’d seen them playing this material live and was underwhelmed.  But it’s actually very good, and they make the covers their own.  I still prefer their music when it’s just the two of them playing, but the slightly larger ensemble really works well on this one.

There were other non-purchases that I’ll get when I have a chance— the Uncle Tupelo LPs were pricy, though entirely worth the money.  They should be around a while, though.  There were a couple of killer blues anthologies by Skip James and Mississippi John Hurt, and a live Cohen set, which will probably be in my next batch of purchases.  Seeing as I get paid in records, I figured this was the best allocation of my “funds” for the day.

Happy Record Store Day, planet Earth.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Lyle Lovett & Steve Earle- Lungs (Townes Van Zandt tribute)

Sunday, June 12, 2011
Jesus was an only son
And love his only concept
Strangers cry in foreign tongues
And dirty up the doorstep
And I for one, and you for two
Ain’t got the time for outside
Just keep your injured looks to you
We’ll tell the world that we tried…
Townes Van Zandt- Lungs (1969)
Sunday, February 20, 2011

Townes Van Zandt- Tower Song

Got this one in my head today somehow, driving home today.  On the surface, it seems like a rather sad song, I guess, but I think of it more in the same light as Iron & Wine’s Naked As We Came.  The song is about the inevitable side of our mortal human lives, and that nothing we construct will last, be it the physical structures of the world or the conceits within our own minds.  But, as with Sam Beam’s song, in the end that isn’t such a bad thing, and there’s still something good to be got out of it:

The end is coming soon it's plain
A warm bed just ain't worth the pain
And I will go and you'll remain
With bitterness we've tasted
A mother's breast a new born child
A poet's tears a drunken smile
I can't help thinking all the while
Their meaning won't be wasted
Sunday, August 15, 2010

Townes Van Zandt- Two Girls

Been loving this one in particular lately.  But purely for musical reasons.  In no way whatsoever do I have two girls.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Townes Van Zandt- Pancho and Lefty

It’s funny that Townes has drifted into the limelight over the last decade, since he spent so much time on the outside of whatever was hip in mainstream culture.  I don’t think anybody is in a position to bemoan or place blame for his career, and it probably doesn’t matter anyway.  In the end, when a generation of hipsters and alt-country wannabes have finished name-dropping him, all that’s going to be left are the songs— those perfect songs— the same as it’s been for every sad genius since Stephen Foster.