This June Neurot Recordings will issue a special three-way split CD in tribute to late American folk music hero Townes Van Zandt, bearing contributions from Scott Kelly (NEUROSIS, SHRINEBUILDER, TRIBES OF NEUROT, solo artist, etc.), Steve Von Till (NEUROSIS, TRIBES OF NEUROT, HARVESTMAN, solo artist, etc.) and Scott “Wino” Weinrich (SAINT VITUS, THE OBSESSED, THE HIDDEN HAND, SHRINEBUILDER, solo artist, etc.).
After having performed material by Van Zandt solo and through various collaborations on stage over recent years, on solo releases and on random live collaborations, the aptly entitled “Songs Of Townes Van Zandt” brings several songs each from Kelly, Von Till and Weinrich together in praise of his deep musical influence on them all. Through a personal contact of the artists, newly-formed label My Proud Mountain was founded specially in order to release this tribute, with Neurot Recordings handling the North American release of the album on June 12.
Download Scott Kelly‘s rendition of “St. John The Gambler” for free right here.
“Songs Of Townes Van Zandt” track listing:
01. If I Needed You [Steve Von Till]
02. St. John The Gambler [Scott Kelly]
03. Black Crow Blues [Steve Von Till]
04. Lungs [Scott Kelly]
05. Rake [Wino]
06. The Snake Song [Steve Von Till]
07. Nothing [Wino]
08. Tecumseh Valley [Scott Kelly]
09. A Song For [Wino]
Townes Van Zandt never reached significant fame during his lifetime. Although highly respected by his peers and other songwriters, the mood and atmosphere of his music, coupled with his sometimes dark and sarcastic nature, was not suitable for the commercial country-industry of Nashville. Van Zandt‘s songs did, however, reach popularity in his day, through artists such as Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, and Emmylou Harris. Within his circle of outsider singer-songwriters, he was adored, though ultimately it would be depression and alcoholism that would overshadow his life. Townes‘ friend, singer Steve Earle, has been quoted as saying, “Townes Van Zandt is the best songwriter in the whole world and I’ll stand on Bob Dylan‘s coffee table in my cowboy boots and say that.” After Townes‘ death in 1997, the fact that artists as diverse as Robert Plant, MUDHONEY, Norah Jones, Lyle Lovett, and Bob Dylan himself have kept his songs alive and vital, is a testament to the influence and impact of his music.
So now do Steve Von Till, Scott Kelly and Wino stand and sing his tribute, each focusing on the essence of Van Zandt‘s music and lyrics in his own personal way. The result is a great homage, whose intensity lies in fragility and elementary human truths. Townes Van Zandt‘s broken-hearted love songs and gloom-ridden tales are most deserving of this tribute and praise.
Stated Scott Kelly: “Townes Van Zandt‘s music has had a profound effect on me as a man and as a musician. I discovered his songs 13 years ago at the same time as I had already began following a new path for myself as musician, seeking to express myself through a more direct, stripped down acoustic approach. Townes Van Zandt‘s music is not only brutally honest, he has an ability to paint a picture with his words that is so far beyond the reach and depth of anyone else I have heard to this day. I am honored to be a part of this record and get the opportunity to bring his music to people who are fans of what I have been doing, and I am humbled to be in the presence of my two brothers Steve Von Till and Wino.”
Steve Von Till added: “To be able to honor the music of Townes Van Zandt with this project is a true gift. His songs have had a profound influence on me as a songwriter and have been a constant sonic companion since first hearing them. Sharing this tribute with Wino and Scott Kelly, both of whom I admire as human beings and fellow travelers on this journey of songcraft makes it even that much more important to me. I hope that it may bring the soul purifying, down to earth truths of Townes to others who may not have discovered him yet, and that those who already recognize his contribution to the world will appreciate this small offering.”
And affirmed Wino: “Circumstance and adventure lead me down the road of playing and writing solely on the acoustic guitar. Born and raised on CSN, Neil Young, amongst others, I still ignored the Americana folk scene. Until Kenny Wagner turned me on to Townes Van Zant. I was still absorbing listening to Scott and Steve‘s various renditions of his songs when Mr. Connie Ochs gave me ‘Abnormal’. It was this that crystallized my endearment to this music; this man, this story, this passion and emotion that has enriched our lives. So I am proud to be a part of this tribute.”