Friday, November 2, 2007

Be Here To Love Me

I watched the Townes Van Zandt documentary, Be Here To Love Me tonight. This movie is a must see for Townes fans, fans of folk-country music, and anyone who appreciates the art and craft of songwriting. The movie chronicles the life of one of the greatest songwriters by splicing old interview and performance material with interviews with friends, peers, and family. Townes was diagnosed as manic depressive and his family had him admitted to an institution where he underwent shock therapy, something they later regretted. It was incredibly well produced. The interviews were candid and the footage of Townes gave a wide open view of a tortured soul and the destructive life he led, sacrificing everything for the music. For Townes, his songs took precedence over everything. The tag line for the movie reads, "What would you sacrifice to follow your dream?" Ultimately, Townes sacrificed his life as the movie depicts his final recording sessions. Early in the movie, Townes being interviewed declares, "I don't envision a very long life for myself. I think my life will run out (pause) before my work does, you know? I've designed it that way."

Two of my favorite quote regarding Townes come from a bold statement made by Steve Earle, and Townes' own response (borrowed from Wikipedia).

"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." — Steve Earle

"I've met Bob Dylan and his bodyguards, and I don't think Steve could get anywhere near his coffee table." — Townes Van Zandt.

I think the songs below are a good cross section of an amazingly proficient, but tragically too short career; starting with one of the first songs he wrote.

Waitin' Around To Die


Flyin' Shoes

Be Here To Love Me

For The Sake Of The Song

I'll Be Here In The Morning

My Proud Mountains

Pancho And Lefty


White Freight Liner Blues

Snowin' On Raton


Townes Van Zandt


Atom said...

I have watched the documentary, too. After watching it, I felt very sad for him, his children, and even all of his wives. He clearly had mental issues, which sets the tone to many of his songs.

paul said...

Great post. Townes' music deserves all the attention it can get.