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Townes Van Zandt


Townes Van Zandt - A Far Cry From Dead CD Cover

A Far Cry From Dead



Alternative Country, Singer/Songwriter


Townes Van Zandt closest comparisons are people he listed among his biggest heroes: Lightnin Hopkins, Bob Dylan, and Hank Williams, Sr. If you already know and love Townes Van Zandt, you may want to check out Steve Earle or John Prine.

Trivia Fact:

When he became curious what it would be like to fall from the fourth floor of a building, Townes leaned back and tossed himself off. He claimed the rush of people coming down to check on him hurt more than the actual falling.

Artists Influenced by Townes Van Zandt:

One of Townes' most successful proteges is Steve Earle. Other artists who have claimed Townes as a major influence include Willie Nelson, Emmylou Harris, and Neil Young.

Starter CDs:

Townes Van Zandt (Tomato, 1969). The Late, Great Townes Van Zandt (Tomato, 1973). Live and Obscure (Normal, 1989). No Deeper Blue (Sugar Hill, 1994).

Quote from Townes Van Zandt:

"I don't think you can ever do your best. Doing your best is a process of trying to do your best."

Townes Van Zandt Biography:

Townes Van Zandt was born in Fort Worth, Texas, in 1944. His family had a long history of in both the oil and cattle ranching industries. When he was a teenager, he was diagnosed as manic-depressive, and consequently received electro-shock treatments.

After seeing Elvis Presley perform on the Ed Sullivan Show, Townes realized he could make a living just playing guitar. Later, he discovered the Blues and became obsessed with Texas Bluesmen. He also began consuming poetry by Emily Dickinson, Dylan Tomas, and Robert Frost.

In 1962, he enrolled as an Economics major at the University of Colorado at Boulder. During this time, he studied in detail the works of Lightnin' Hopkins, Hank Williams, and Bob Dylan.

After some time, he began playing out in local bars and coffeehouses. When Bob Dylan released "Times They Are A-Changin'," Van Zandt was inspired to start taking his craft as a songwriter more seriously. He became obsessed with his songwriting, and soon began opening for Doc Watson and Lightnin Hopkins.

Over the next thirty years, Townes continued to perform in intimate settings mostly throughout Texas. His main popularity came after he was gone, when songwriters across the country began discovering his classic, honest, muscle-and-bones original songs.

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