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.
I'm still buzzing! If a little tired and emotional, from long rehearsals.
Are they ready? Have you got a show?
A week to go, and I only shouted at two of the little bleeders today. But...we're going to have a show, and it might even be alright. Thanks for your interest ;-)
So...probably should have cleared this up BEFORE recording...does this album have a strict CBG rule to the exclusion of other instruments? On past CBN albums I've been on, the general guidelines were to have a CBG incorporated into the piece. Is anyone opposed to my inclusion of additional, non Cigar Box instruments (there is a CBG in the mix)? Please speak up if it rubs anyone the wrong way. I will happily post my recording of Dollar Bill Blues on my page anyway even if it isn't included in the album. Let me know...Thanks!
If you go back to the very first post in this thread, it says...nothing explicit about CBG only. The implication is there that any submissions should be CBG-dominated, and reading through the Replies indicates this. Also also wik, however, if this were CBG only, that would by definition have excluded stompbox percussion, tambourines, bass, etc. And if you've listened to the other submissions, you'll hear those. So, no, it's not a CBG-only project.
I'm happy to include your submission, as long as you indicate what instruments were used on the recording, and how they were recorded. If all you've got is a CBG standing in the corner while you recorded this, I might look askance at that, but if you actually used a CBG or CBG-like instrument (tin can guitar, diddley bow, etc.) somewhere on the recording, even if it's just to provide one atmospheric slide note, then you're good to go.
Thanks for the response Oily. I think I was a little thrown off in the second paragraph by "the idea for a tribute album, using only CBGs." No unboxed guitars were strummed in the making of this recording. Actually, it's hard to remember the last time I picked one up of my own free will! I guess the best way to decide is to hear it. So here's a little bit about the track:
Dollar Bill Blues: Starts out with an 8-string CBG run through a Fender amp with some distortion, a homemade banjo, a jaw harp, and the bass is laid down by a lil' brown jug. Throw in some vocals and fiddle to round it out and you've got, as the American Idol judges would hopefully say, my own take on Dollar Bill Blues.
I hope you guys like it and again, if for some reason it doesn't fit with this album, no hard feelings on my part. It was a pleasure just looking into some more of TVZ's music and find a song that struck such a chord with me (pun intended).
Just had a chance to listen to the track. Dude! That's wonderful! I dig the whole thing. I especially like the "clockwork" feel all the instruments provide as background for your wonderful singing. I also get a very strong Joss Whedon - Serenity - Firefly vibe from it, as well as thinking this is something that could have been played at a medicine show in the 1880's. Very well done! It's a keeper. I think it will fit just fine with everything else I've heard so far. You really made this your own.
I was wondering if someone would do Dollar Bill very nice Ben its like being in a bar back in time, or in space not sure but I like it.. Long Live Danny Gatton D.C.'s favorite son and one of most incredible slingers of all time.
Thanks! When listening to the song, watch out or your thumbs will end up at a space bar...okay, that was stupid. Yay for Gatton, although unfortunately only his amps (not his guitars) were rectangular shaped...
Ben, that's suberb!!! I've just listened to it over and over. It's that good. Thank you so much for taking the time to add a blinding addition to this project.
More jugs, that's what I say!
Thanks Vinyl! I've got a stupid grin plastered on my face. I've never known anyone with enough in the jugs department!