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Townes Van Zandt (1944 - 1997) was a Texas singer-songwriter-poet, whose music has touched a deep chord (pun intended) amongst many of us here at CBN. No, he's not related, except perhaps very distantly, to those other musical Van Zandt boys many of us also love. Townes was hailed, back in 1985 by none other than another gifted songwriter, Steve Earle, as "the greatest songwriter in the world, and I'll stand on Bob Dylan's coffee table in my cowboy boots and say that!" Whether or not you agree with ol' Steve, there is a deep knowledge of the blues, heartache, pain and melancholy in Townes' songs. For those of you unfamiliar with his work, please visit his estate's website to get to know him better (all proceeds go to support his children and his second wife, Jeanene):
Several of us here at CBN (myself, Uncle John, Turtlehead, and maybe some others I haven't seen or heard - I know the owner of Diamondbackguitarshop and beStillroy are also huge fans) have done videos of us playing our versions of Townes' songs, many of which came out nearly 40 years ago. We realized that the CBG may be the perfect instrument on which to reinterpret and breathe new life into Townes' songs. In fact, we've been kicking the idea around in the Comment section of Uncle John's video rendition of "Flying Shoes" for the last coupla weeks (check it out), and came up with the idea for a tribute album, using only CBGs (I know, I know: Townes never played one, to my knowledge, and I and perhaps many others of you learned "Pancho and Lefty" on a 6-stringer, but still...).
So, if you're still with me, we're looking for MP3 submissions from those who play Townes' songs, wanna try 'em on CBG, may have never heard of him but like what they hear - any and all are welcome. His catalogue is pretty deep, so I'd like to lay claim to "If I Needed You" right here, right now! (hmmm. Jesus Jones...nah) ;-) We're also looking for someone willing to create some original cover art. The idea behind this is not to make money. We wouldn't want to charge for these songs or this album. We just wanna get 'em out to the larger CBN audience. As currently envisioned, it would be of a similar nature to the free download Robert Johnson tribute album, or the various CBN Christmas albums. It is not designed to detract from, or compete with, the Blues Album Dan Sleep is currently putting together for CBN, which many of us here are also contributing to. All we ask, like the judges on American Idol, is that you make your submitted TVZ song your own.
For those who are interested, you can add MP3 files using the Attach Files or Upload Files link at the bottom left to this Discussion. Record 'em however y'all feel comfortable: lo-fi, hi-fi, wi-fi, or in-fi, doesn't matter. You can PM me here at CBN for any offline technical or otherwise discussions. I will, eventually, get back to you.
Yeah, deep bass is great. Glad you like it.
Just some stuff to watch while you're working on your songs:
Thanks for the link, Ron. 50 minutes of Townes. Starts off with a humbly wonderful version of Marie.
I think it would be best to tell people that are going to submit a track for TWO HANDS to
record them clean no reverb or time effects, this will give who ever edits it a much better chance at
a good result. The name of the song is Two Hands, It's goona need a clap track!
Thorsten I was looking a the pics of you guitars and you were not kidding when you said
the shorter the scale the bigger the strings,are those bass string on that two stringer? Also
it might be a good idea to have a scrath vocal track on the download to keep thing line up.
Yes, the two stringer has got two bass strings - E and A. It's a bass for my nephew for his 11th birthday. The scale is shorter, like Fender stratocaster scale, but I tuned the strings G - C, so the tension is real bass guitar feel.
For slide guitars you should always use strings with larger diameter so you don't "dive" too much towards the fretboard/neck due to higher string tension.
I'll put in some clapping if somebody sends it to me. I could record some as well ...
Here's my go at the backing track for our communal stab at Pancho & Lefty. I'm not sure what you folks were expecting, but I tried my best to pick it as best as I could. I don't know what key it's in, but it's in the same key that Townes plays it in (capo first fret) and the same tempo. I recorded it to a metronome, so it should be in time all the way through.
Now, I can't remember if Turtle said he was going to edit the track together with the massed Nation choir?
Beautiful picking you've done. Sounds fine to my ears.
One of Townes little gems Still Looking for you. I played this on an RTZ6E this is a 6string electric
Cohiba box guitar, I used HA 2.5 this is my backpacker amp half watt El Rey Del Mundo box in an
isulation box so i could sing and play at the same time. Vocal was through a Rode NT1A and an Art
preamp and the guitar was through a Shure SM57 through Presonus Preamp. Again with a tip
of the cowboy hat to Townes this is a one take recording. Don't know if it i'm not getting paid enough
or i'm lazy but there is some missed notes at inoppertune times i could of fixed but i have to go
shoot beer cans with a beebee gun. On the cover this sound like a silly little love song but I
think it's about Townes chasing the songwriters dream and leaving everthing behind him.
Lovely stuff Mr RTZ, that's smashing.
It's great hearing one of Townes' more obscure songs from one of his later albums. Am I right in thinking this only appears on At My Window? Some of those later albums had rather strange arrangements, and had far too many re-workings of old songs, but there would always be (as you said), a little gem.
That sounds great Vinyl. Thanks for doing this. I've been out of town and have some catching up to do. My thoughts are to have anyone who wants to take a stab at it go for it and yes I'll edit it together. Depending on how many volunteers we have, we can split up verses, then bring in some/most/all of the participants on the chorus.
Two Hands is shaping up so nicely and I'm downright giddy at the thought of doing something similar with P&L.
I'd like to take a pass at it on the 3 string for some accompaniment. It'd be nice if we had a mix of CGB and vocals from anyone who feels the urge. Vinyl has laid us a very solid foundation.
My initial thoughts for something like this were much more crude and I'm blown away with the performances and gung-ho participation we have going on here. Should have expected as much from The Nation.
Is it possible to post vocal tracks for "two hands" until May 15? I'll be off for education week in Vienna end of May and would like to finish the song before.