“Townes” By Steve Earle

It’s a pretty remarkable homage when an artist will record an entire album of songs by his hero.  And let us stipulate this isn’t Soupy Sales singing Dylan just to cash in.  This is Steve Earle, one of the greatest songwriters to emerge from “country music” in the past decade, and his homage to Townes was undertaken, in part, to get the world to recognize what a gem of a songwriter the late Austinite really was.

Van Zandt got lost along the way.  Steve Earle is one of the few who went down the rabbit hole of heroin to make it back alive.  Since he did, he’s produced one absolutely perfect album — I Feel Alright — and a bunch of great ones: El Corazon, Transcendental Blues, The Revolution Starts Now. The thing that makes Earle so admirable is not just his honesty, his bile, his guts, it’s the way he can invoke Bill Monroe, Townes Van Zandt, Joe Strummer, and Revolver-era Lennon/McCartney on the same album, and make it all sound like… Steve Earle.

Townes is a labor of love, a testament by a survivor on a tightrope about the one who fell off.  He does his mentor proud, even as he reinforces not just Townes Van Zandts’ greatness, but his own.

2 Responses to ““Townes” By Steve Earle”

  1. One of the best shows ever at Telluride Bluegrass (Steve Earle). And then there was the one where he and his little sister Staci did a show. Have you heard her album? Kinda Gillian Welch without the David Rawlings.

    Nanci Griffith does some very nice renditions of Townes’ songs as well.

  2. johnbuckley100 Says:

    Donna – Gillian Welch without the Dave Rawlings is like taco chips without the salsa, but I know what you mean. I have actually never seen Steve Earle. Though he played a great cameo last night in the finale of 30 Rock.

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