Ever since a heart attack on New Year's Day in 1997 (44 years to the day of his idol Hank Williams'death) laid Townes Van Zandt in his grave, a steady stream of archival tapes continues to surface. Some reveal the Texas singer-songwriter was already among the walking dead, pickled from alcohol abuse and other unmentionables (see the doc Be Here to Love Me for the lurid escapades), while 1969's Live at Carnegie Hall found him downright frisky. Rear View Mirror stems from 1990, when Townes was re-addressing the often stilted studio performances of his best-known songs, stripping standards like “Lungs” and “Flyin'Shoes” back down to guitar and voice in front of a rapt audience. Guitarist Danny Rowland and fiddler Owen Cody back Van Zandt to varying effect. While Cody deftly emphasizes the harrowing phrases on "Tecumseh Valley," his sawing all but overshadows "Pancho & Lefty," burying both singer and song in the mix.
By John Morthland on 09.30.14 in Features
The man who invented modern Americana was also its biggest cut-up.
By John Morthland on 04.22.11 in Reviews
So you know he's an Important Artist, and you even like some of what you've heard by him. Thus, you want a little bit of quality Van Zandt for yourself. But there's seemingly an infinite number of albums out...
By Michael Corcoran on 04.22.11 in Reviews
People forget this, of course, but Tuesday, September 11, 2001, was actually a big record release date. I was at home that morning working on a review of Poet: A Tribute to Townes Van Zandt, which would hit stores that d...
By Peter Blackstock on 01.01.05 in Spotlights
Arguably the most influential live albums in pop music history were a pair of country records — Johnny Cash's late-'60s couplet of concerts recorded at Folsom Prison and San Quentin. Though Cash had been a star sin...