Townes Van Zandt

Today, March 7th, 2024, we at Grateful Web come together to commemorate the birth of Townes Van Zandt, a figure whose soulful melodies and poignant lyrics have profoundly shaped the contours of Americana and bluegrass music. His legacy stands as a beacon of authenticity, emotional depth, and lyrical mastery, casting a long shadow over the musical landscape and nurturing a lineage of artists who tread the path he blazed.

Diehard fans and musicians alike have long shared myths and legends about the late-greats amongst themselves, but it’s rare for any of those tall tales to be corroborated. Rare, but not impossible. Enter Without Getting Killed or Caught, a remarkable documentary film about the mythical, complicated relationship between legendary songwriters Guy Clark, Susanna Clark, and Townes Van Zandt, and the art it inspired; a film with enough charm to create new fans of Clark and his music and enough depth to appease long-time followers.

Following the critically acclaimed release of Sky Blue, a collection of unreleased songs by one of the most celebrated songwriters of the twentieth century earlier this year, Fat Possum Records are releasing 50th anniversary reissues of Van Zandt’s second and third albums, Our Mother The Mountain and Townes Van Zandt on January 10th, 2020.

Sky Blue, a collection of unreleased songs by one of the most celebrated songwriters of the twentieth century, is a time capsule that Townes Van Zandt created forty-six years ago, and we’re only now just unearthing and opening it to find the treasures inside. Scheduled for release by TVZ Records and Fat Possum Records on March 7, 2019—which would have been his 75th birthday—this album shows the artist working out some of his most iconic songs in an intimate, comfortable setting with one of his lifelong confidantes.

Record Store Day and its fall counterpart, Back to Black Friday (the Friday after Thanksgiving) are days that labels release limited-quantity vinyl (and sometimes CD) editions of records for customers to place on the non-virtual checkout counter.  In other words, you have to get up and get to a record store to participate.

Even though Townes Van Zandt may not be a household name, he is a legend to songwriters and the music fans who love them. As the recently issued Sunshine Boy: The Unheard Studio Sessions & Demos 1971-1972 proved — receiving five-star reviews from American Songwriter and Mojo, along with a ten-out-of-ten-star piece from Uncut — the world was ready to rediscover not only Van Zandt, but the studio albums those sessions came from.

As musicologist Colin Escott writes in his liner notes for the upcoming Omnivore Recordings release of the late Townes Van Zandt’s Sunshine Boy: The Unheard Studio Sessions and Demos 1971-1972, “The art of Townes Van Zandt reveals a little at a time. Every hearing brings forth something you can’t believe you missed all the other times, or something that rings even truer today than way back when.”

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