Townes [Bonus Disc]

Townes [Bonus Disc]

by Steve Earle
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

In his brief liner sketch on this album of Townes Van Zandt covers, songwriter Steve Earle writes: "I always read everything Townes told me to read. All of us did; we who followed him around, or simply bided our time in places along his migratory path, for we were indeed a cult, in the strictest sense of the word, with Townes at its ever shifting center." While what… See more details below

Overview

In his brief liner sketch on this album of Townes Van Zandt covers, songwriter Steve Earle writes: "I always read everything Townes told me to read. All of us did; we who followed him around, or simply bided our time in places along his migratory path, for we were indeed a cult, in the strictest sense of the word, with Townes at its ever shifting center." While what it was he read isn't worth spoiling here, it's the last part of that long sentence that really matters. Van Zandt inspired a cult, and an even bigger list of pale imitators. Earle may lionize the man and the artist (hence the tribute record), and may have even begun as an imitator, but he became something else entirely -- an iconoclastic (and iconic) artist and producer in his own right who can interpret these songs as such. Van Zandt may have indeed been Earle's "schoolmaster," but it's Earle who does Van Zandt's artistic legend justice in these 15 diverse, yet stripped down performances of his songs. Many of the choices are obvious: "Pancho and Lefty," "To Live Is to Fly," "White Freightliner Blues," "Delta Momma Blues,"and "Don't Take It Too Bad" among them. Some would be less so, save for an artist of Earle's particular vision and world bent: "Mr. Mudd and Mr. Gold," "Rake," "Marie," "Colorado Girl," and "(Quicksilver Daydreams Of) Maria." That said, none of these arrangements are predictable, and yet all of them work. Earle's approach is very basic with some interesting twists and turns. Acoustic guitars, upright basses, mandolin, Dobro, banjo, fiddle, and mandola sit alongside electric guitars (thanks to Rage Against the Machine's Tom Morello) and basses, harmonium, and effects. The distorted blues harp and hand percussion on "Where I Lead Me," is an excellent touch, but the megaphone vocals, ambient and feedback noise, and drum loops and electric guitar crunch on "Lungs" make it sound more like Black 47 covering Van Zandt. The reverb and loops on "Loretta" juxtapose beautifully against the acoustic guitars and the fiddle. The version of "Marie" is less harrowing than its author's; it feels more third-person narrative than first-person horror story -- thank goodness. "White Freightliner Blues" captures the free-in-the-wind bluegrass nature Van Zandt intended, perhaps more so than his own world-weary delivery, thanks in large part to Tim O'Brien's mandolin, Darrell Scott's banjo, and Shad Cobb's fiddle. Earle would have had a hard time blowing this record. Certainly, he's closer than most to the material as he was to the man, but more than that he's a great songwriter and an avid folk music enthusiast. He understands lineages and the way the tales get told matter in order for them to live on. That's the easy part; the more mercurial thing is how well he succeeded. Earle made Townes' songs seem like an extension of his own last album, 2007's Washington Square Serenade. The same anything-goes-attitude, the adherence to all kinds of folk music, whether it's from across oceans, terrains, or alleyways, whether its roots are rural or urban, permeates this recording, making it an Earle record most of all; and that is about as fitting a tribute as there is to Van Zandt. [The CD was also released with a bonus disc.]

Read More

Editorial Reviews

New York Times - Anthony DeCurtis
In a sense it is the Townes Van Zandt album that Van Zandt couldn’t or wouldn’t make himself, but should have. "It is a form of channeling at its best," said Mr. Earle, who recorded most of the album in his Greenwich Village apartment. "What I tried to do is sit in a room by myself for 12 of the 15 tracks and play them as close to the way I remember him playing them."

Product Details

Release Date:
05/12/2009
Label:
New West Records
UPC:
0607396616527
catalogNumber:
6165
Rank:
221818

Tracks

Disc 1

  1. Pancho and Lefty  - Steve Earle
  2. White Freightliner Blues  - Steve Earle
  3. Colorado Girl  - Steve Earle
  4. Where I Lead Me  - Steve Earle
  5. Lungs  - Steve Earle
  6. No Place to Fall  - Steve Earle
  7. Loretta  - Steve Earle
  8. Brand New Companion  - Steve Earle
  9. Rake  - Steve Earle
  10. Delta Momma Blues  - Steve Earle
  11. Marie  - Steve Earle
  12. Don't Take It Too Bad  - Steve Earle
  13. Mr. Mudd and Mr. Gold  - Steve Earle
  14. (Quicksilver Daydreams Of) Maria  - Steve Earle
  15. To Live Is to Fly  - Steve Earle

Disc 2

  1. Pancho and Lefty  - Steve Earle
  2. Where I Lead Me  - Steve Earle
  3. Lungs  - Steve Earle
  4. No Place to Fall  - Steve Earle
  5. Loretta  - Steve Earle
  6. Brand New Companion  - Steve Earle
  7. Rake  - Steve Earle
  8. Marie  - Steve Earle
  9. Mr. Mudd and Mr. Gold  - Steve Earle
  10. (Quicksilver Daydreams Of) Maria  - Steve Earle
  11. To Live Is to Fly  - Steve Earle

Read More

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Steve Earle   Primary Artist,Guitar,Harmonica,Mandolin,Percussion,Harmonium,Vocals
Dennis Crouch   Bass,Bass Guitar
Tom Morello   Electric Guitar
Greg Morrow   Drums
Tim O'Brien   Mandolin
Darrell Scott   Banjo,Dobro
Allison Moorer   Vocals
Shad Cobb   Fiddle
Steven Christensen   Percussion
John Spiker   Electric Bass
Justin Townes Earle   Guitar,Vocals

Technical Credits

Steve Earle   Audio Production
Danny Goldberg   Management
Matthew Moore   Composer
Townes Van Zandt   Composer
John King   Producer
Tony Fitzpatrick   Cover Art
Brady Brock   Publicity
Ruben Studdard   Composer
Steven Christensen   Engineer
Dave Nokken   Management
Jesse Bauer   Management
Amanda Hale-Ornelas   Publicity

Read More

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >