Monday, May 08, 2006

Sometimes I don't know where this dirty road is taking me

all taken from "Townes Van Zandt: the self-destructive hobo saint". by John Kruth

http://www.highbeam.com/library/docfree.asp?DOCID=1G1:117665738&ctrlInfo=Round19%3AMode19b%3ADocG%3AResult&ao=

"Townes was always quick to credit "a greater power" as the source of his songwriting abilities. He truly believed that his songs came from out of the sky and would suddenly shoot through him like a lightning bolt. Van Zandt merely wrote them down as they occurred.

"It just goes from the top of my head out my right arm," Townes once explained, attempting to describe his supernatural inspiration. He often felt "slammed upon, hit between the eyeballs, out of the blue" by the muse. "Some of my songs, I just felt like I had nothing to do with. It was like, god, my arm's tired, what did I write?"

"Lauded as "the James Joyce of Texas songwriters" and "the Van Gogh of lyrics" by
Billboard Magazine, Townes Van Zandt lived the life of a wandering bard, scribbling down lyrics on placemats and napkins in coffee shops and old truck stops. He wrote sitting by the side of the road, in train stations, airports and taxicabs--some of the loneliest places on Earth. There was a certain kind of purity to his lyrics, an underlying formality that few of his peers possessed.

"You won't find a song that's better written, that says more or impresses songwriters more," Steve Earle claimed. According to Townes, "Pancho and Lefty" just floated in through a window one day after he made himself sit at a table until he wrote a new song. Van Zandt believed anybody could've done it. They just had to be sitting in the right chair.

"Whenever an aspiring songwriter questioned him about his artistic process, Townes jokingly suggested they get themselves a guitar as it's much easier to carry around than a piano. Then came the rap that had most neophytes quickly searching for the exit sign. "You have to blow off everything else," he explained. "You have to blow off your family. You have to blow off comfort. You have to blow off money. You have to blow off security. You have to blow off your ego. You have to blow off everything except your guitar. You have to sleep with it. Learn how to tune it. And no matter how hungry you get, stick with it."

The level of Townes' commitment to his art frightened most people. "Townes was a brave soul," Guy Clark said with a sigh. "Very few people are willing to go that deep and take a hard look at the darkness. Nobody cut it that close to the bone. He went for the passion, not a bunch of clever bullshit."

4 Comments:

Blogger Boz said...

The first song I ever heard by TVZ.

Greebsboro Woman
By townes van zandt

Greensboro woman don’t you smile on me
I do not feel like being comforted
And anyway I’ll be home soon
For once is someone waitin’ there
And if you don’t mind
I just think on her instead

Your face, she’s a picture, babe
Pictures ain’t what I crave
I don’t feel this way most generally
I just pit a thousand miles ’tween me
And where my thoughts do lie
And I thank you kindly baby to kindly let me be

Your car, she’s smooth and fast
Babe, your bourbon’s fine
But I ain’t feelin free and clear today
Texas loving laying on my mind
I couldn’t do you right babe spinnin’ round this way

Greensboro woman don’t you smile on me
I do not feel like being comforted
And anyway I’ll be home soon
For once is someone waitin’ there
And if you don’t mind
I just think on her instead

4:23 PM  
Blogger AEP said...

Townes Van Zandt is a god.

4:36 PM  
Blogger Boz said...

I hope you're happy.
I'll be listening to TVZ all night now.

tecumseh valley
By townes van zandt

The name she gave was caroline
Daughter of a miner
Her ways were free
It seemed to me
That sunshine walked beside her

She came from spencer
Across the hill
She said her pa had sent her
’cause the coal was low
And soon the snow
Would turn the skies to winter

She said she’d come
To look for work
She was not seeking favors
And for a dime a day
And a place to stay
She’d turn those hands to labor

But the times were hard, lord,
The jobs were few
All through tecumseh valley
But she asked around
And a job she found
Tending bar at gypsy sally’s

She saved enough to get back home
When spring replaced the winter
But her dreams were denied
Her pa had died
The word come down from spencer

So she turned to whorin’ out on the streets
With all the lust inside her
And it was many a man
Returned again
To lay himself beside her

They found her down beneath the stairs
That led to gypsy sally’s
In her hand when she died
Was a note that cried
Fare thee well... tecumseh valley

The name she gave was caroline
Daughter of a miner
Her ways were free
It seemed to me
That sunshine walked beside her

5:04 PM  
Blogger Rebel Leady Boy said...

Townes is a terrible name for a god.

8:41 PM  

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