Thursday, 21 August 2014

WORDS FOR THE MUSIC #2: Townes Van Zandt

POET OF THE MONTH #19: Townes Van Zandt



At my window
Watching the sun go
Hoping the stars know
It's time to shine

Aloft on dark wings
Soft as the sun streams
At day's decline

Living is laughing
And dying says nothing at all
Baby and I lying here
Watching the evening fall

Time flows
Through brave beginnings
And she leaves her endings
Beneath our feet

Walk lightly
Upon their faces
Leave gentle traces
Upon their sleep

Living is dancing
Dying does nothing at all
Baby and I lying here
Watching the evening fall

Three dimes
Hard luck and good times
Fast lines and low rhymes
Ain't much to say

Feel fine
Feel low and lazy
Feel gray and hazy
Feel far away

Living is sighing
Dying ain't flying so high
Baby and I lying here
Watching the day go by

Words and Music by TOWNES VAN ZANDT
At My Window (1987)

The Songwriter:   The following biographical statement is taken from Wikipedia.  [It is re-posted here for recommendation purposes only and, like the material quoted above, remains its author's exclusive copyright-protected intellectual property.]

John Townes Van Zandt I (March 7, 1944 – January 1, 1997), best known as Townes Van Zandt, was an American singer-songwriter. Many of his songs, including If I Needed You and To Live Is to Fly, are considered standards of their genre. 

While alive, Van Zandt had a small and devoted fanbase, but he never had a successful album or single and even had difficulty keeping his recordings in print.  In 1983, six years after Emmylou Harris had first popularized it, Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard covered his song Pancho and Lefty, scoring a number one hit on the Billboard country music charts. Despite achievements like these, the bulk of his life was spent touring various dive bars, often living in cheap motel rooms, backwoods cabins, and on friends' couches.  Van Zandt was notorious for his drug addictions, alcoholism, and his tendency to tell tall tales.  When young, he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and insulin shock therapy erased much of his long-term memory.

Van Zandt died on New Years Day 1997 from health problems stemming from years of substance abuse. The 2000s saw a resurgence of interest in Van Zandt. During the decade, two books, a documentary film, and a number of magazine articles about the singer were created.  Van Zandt's music has been covered by such notable and varied musicians as Bob Dylan, Nanci Griffith, Norah Jones, Lyle Lovett, Steve Earle, Cowboy Junkies, Andrew Bird, Robert Plant, Alison Krauss, Gillian Welch, Laura Marling, The Avett Brothers, and Devendra Banhart.

The music of Townes Van Zandt was and remains that of a true American troubadour, as beautiful as it is haunting and, in its own way, inimitable.  His is music from the heart that speaks directly to the heart, music that, despite its apparent simplicity, still manages to express the profound and sometimes very bitter truth of what it means to be human and alive.

Click HERE to visit the official website of US singer/songwriter TOWNES VAN ZANDT.  Many more songs by him can by found on YouTube by clicking HERE.  To read his full Wikipedia entry, please click HERE.

Special thanks to everyone who takes the time to upload music to YouTube.  Your efforts are appreciated by music lovers everywhere.

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POET OF THE MONTH #2: Marianne Moore

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