Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Townes turns 69

We’ve all lacked foresight at one time or another, especially when it comes to musical tastes, mostly early on in life when it’s a healthy combination of immaturity and/or impatience. I vividly remember the day I first purchased Townes Van Zandt’s self-titled LP (his 3rd; 1969) on the legendary Poppy label. I had read reviews of his work to date as well as testimonials from peers I admired. And how could I resist that sleeve? Townes looking as if he was deep in thought at an old kitchen table centered in an antique, ornate kitchen, also recorded at the legendary Bradley’s Barn in Nashville.
But you know what? I dropped the needle and was…disappointed. His music didn’t jump up and down; it didn’t wear fancy clothes, it was concise and didn’t beat around the bush. I simply at my young age didn’t have the patience for music this subtle.
I actually think I sold that album (stupid!), probably to obtain something I haven’t and won’t listen to ever again in my life. We’ve all been there.
Cut to about 8-9 years ago. Heartworn Highways, the documentary about the rebirth of country music around Austin & Nashville in the 70’s is released. Townes is part of that stellar crew. I devour it. A year or two later Be Here to Love Me, the biopic of Mr. Van Zandt is released. I’m floored. I purchase the box set that includes his first seven releases from ’68 to ’78. I can’t listen to anything else. I even read his biography from 2005 To Live’s to Fly: compassionate, truthful, contradictory.
The point being…if you haven’t been knocked sideways by the man’s music yet, prepare to be wholly caught off guard…if you’re already a fan, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
Especially now that we’re all ‘older’.
And be sure and join us as we celebrate what would have been Townes’ 68th this Wednesday the 7th, all day, on WUMB.

-        Albert O

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