To Hell with songs about trucks, bonfires, and summer romances. To Hell with snap and clap tracks haphazardly tossed over samples of banjos and mandolins. Country music has lost its life, and venal pop stars are feeding on its corpse.
Many of the songs in The Carter Family’s repertoire focused on death, suffering, and sadness. The same could be said of the immortal Hank Williams, the lonesome drifting cowboy who rambles eternally down the lost highway. But another person integral to the genuine lifeblood of country and Americana music is Townes Van Zandt.
Even Van Zandt’s happiest songs have a faint, but vivid, taste of melancholy. Like a drizzling, gray, rainy day when the fog just won’t seem to lift. In that sadness, there is a tangible beauty that one doesn’t want to let go of. There is comfort in the cover of the misty bleakness of Van Zandt’s voice.
And that comfort continues to reach out to fans both old and new. If you’ve been a fan of Townes Van Zandt for years, this will come as no surprise to you. But if you’ve never heard Townes before, keep reading. Shut your eyes and turn off the outside world. You are in for something very special.
On March 7, TVZ Records and Fat Possum Records will be releasing Sky Blue, a collection of never-before-heard Van Zandt material. Recorded in Atlanta in 1973 at the studio of Bill Hedgepeth, Sky Blue includes early raw takes of fan favorites and deep cuts. It also features 2 new songs that have not been previously released. No additional musicians appear, so fans who appreciate Van Zandt’s live solo acoustic recordings have much to anticipate.
New Noise Magazine is proud to present an advance stream “All I Need”
Sky Blue is out March 7th via TVZ Records & Fat Possum Records. Pre-order it here.
Life’s default mode is not Friday nights out on the town, or casual flings with an attractive other in a cowboy hat. Life’s default mode is pain. Life is hard, and everyone suffers in some form. Townes Van Zandt’s music helps us remember this fact. His songs make it acceptable to hurt, to cry, to mourn. But also to long for something meaningful. Something that endures beyond the bar, the bedroom, or the bonfire. Something that breathes new life into dead things, often by grieving their passing.
Townes Van Zandt’s Sky Blue is out March 7 (his 75th birthday) on TVZ Records and Fat Possum Records. Look for our full review closer to that day!