Texas Songwriters Pt. 2 – Townes van Zandt


Steve Earle 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.” That might have been something of an overstatement, but there’s no doubt that van Zandt  left behind a dozen or so truly great songs and a lot more very good ones.

Van Zandt’s personal problems kept him under the radar as a performer for most of his career, but he did have some cover versions of his songs hit the country charts in the late ’80s and ’90s, and the fierce devotion of his small but influential cult following never waned. He died in 1997 at the age of 52, done in by the drug and alcohol problems that had plagued him for most of his life. For all the details, check out Be Here To Love Me, the definitive documentary record of Townes’s life. The DVD extras include some great performances, too.

Pancho and Lefty is the best song Townes van Zandt ever wrote, and I’ll stand on Steve Earle’s coffee table in my Chuck Taylor All-Stars and say that. Here he is, introdeuced by Nanci Griffith – please enjoy.

One Response to “Texas Songwriters Pt. 2 – Townes van Zandt”

  1. Duncan Walls Says:

    Apparently Steve Earle is all set to put his money where his mouth is by releasing ‘Townes” , his personal tribute to TVZ on May 12th. I’ll be looking forward to his take on Townes as he was close enough to get burned a few times himself. There are a reported 15 tracks that Earle recorded: 12 with just voice and guitar then took to Nashville for sweetening and 3 more that were cut with a bluegrass band. The onlyv titles given in the new Rolling Stone article I am quoting are predictably ‘Pancho & Lefty’ and “To Live is To Fly”. Thanks for posting this video. In my search for music it is always a treat to be able to stop and WATCH someone you never saw live play once in a while and find out through the YouTube list that there is more yet to see.

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