13 May 2009


I don't really do record reviews (I leave that to John), but I just listened for the first time to Townes, Steve Earle's new release. Earle covers 15 songs of his friend and mentor, Townes Van Zandt. Earle once famously 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 don't know how to begin comparing Townes and Dylan, it's fair to say that Townes Van Zandt wrote some stunning songs, and he deserves more listening than he probably gets today.

I first started listening to some of his music thanks to Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings, who have covered a few of his songs, including Pancho & Lefty and White Freight Liner Blues. (The latter is on the duo's wonderful live DVD.) Over time, I really fell in love with Rear View Mirror, a live collection that Townes released in 1993, only four years before his death.

So, after only one listen, I'd say that Steve Earle's effort is really worthwhile. (This is why I don't write music reviews.) Earle's label, New West records, has a free download of "To Live is to Fly" available here (download should start automatically). Enjoy.


Steve Thorngate said...

Don't know how I missed this...thanks for the link.

John Potter said...

Thanks for the plug. I hadn't heard about this either, and will have to check it out.

Speaking of songwriters' favorite songwriters, at a recent David Bazan (my favorite songwriter) show, someone in the audience asked which song by someone else he wished he'd written. He responded by playing Gillian Welch's "Everything is Free." Pretty great...