Scott Kelly/Steve Von Till/Wino: Songs For Townes Van Zandt
(Neurosis, Saint Vitus)
Released on June 12, 2012
Townes Van Zandt never reached significant fame during his lifetime. Although highly respected by his peers and other songwriters,
the mood and atmosphere of his music, coupled with his sometimes
dark and sarcastic nature, was not suitable for the commercial country-industry of Nashville.
Van Zandt’s songs did, however, reach popularity in his day through
artists such as Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard and Emmylou Harris. Within his circle of outsider singer-songwriters, he was adored,
though ultimately depression and alcoholism overshadowed his life.
Van Zandt’s friend, singer Steve Earle, has been quoted as saying,
“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.”
Van Zandt’s passed away in 1997, and the fact that artists as diverse
as Robert Plant, Mudhoney, Norah Jones, Lyle Lovett and Dylan
himself have kept his songs alive and vital is a testament to the influence and impact of his music.
So now do Steve Von Till, Scott Kelly and Wino stand and sing his
tribute, each focusing on the essence of Van Zandt’s music and lyrics
in his own personal way. The result is a great homage, whose intensity
lies in fragility and elementary human truths. Van Zandt’s brokenhearted love songs and gloom-ridden tales are most deserving of
this tribute and praise.