Saturday, 23 May 2009
I have just picked up Steve Earle's tribute album to his mentor Townes Van Zandt, simply entitled Townes, a 2CD edition is available with Steve's basic tracks on the second CD.
Steve Earle is one of our finest songwriters. He has at least three masterpieces under his belt (I Feel Alright, El Corazon and Transcendental Blues). "Townes" is a heartfelt tribute/cover of Earle's hero Townes Van Zandt. I have to admit that I dont know enough about Townes Van Zandt and his legacy, but this goldmine collection of covers amkes me want to seek out TVZ originals.
Highlights include the well known country standard "Pancho and Lefty" (Earle does not do a great version of this, check out Willie Nelson nailing this song), the transcendent ode to wanderlust: "White Freightliner Blues", the slow blue burn of "Brand New Companion" and finally the simple but painfully beautiful "To Live is to Fly". The past miles of tried and tired experiences come through as Steve's haunted voice and weeping guitar pay tribute to a fallen angel.
I think this may be an essential release and the good news is he is touring this album, looks like November dates for the UK.