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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.
We took our children to Hamburg and the North Sea coast last year and they appreciated both very much, especially the enormous changing of the tides. My father also attended the University of Hamburg in the 1960s (he worked on oil or chemicals tankers for about 50 years, last year he retired).
Ron. This is fantastic. My personal favourite so far (and there are many outstanding TVZ-covers). The melancholy that comes through your voice is over the top. Can't wait for the complete album!!!
Many thanks! I hope I was also able to inject some humor in with the melancholy. When I first head this, I wondered about the minor key, because just reading the lyrics cracked me up. That'sTownes for you ;-).
Wow, I have missed a lot! Got a great new grandson, and then came home to no internet. Just got it back and was told a storm must have taken out the modem. Sure did miss it, and look forward to hearing the TVZ tracks!
Hey RTZ, Hey Letha!
Thanks for the kudos, y'all. I really enjoyed singin' that one. Really had to listen to Townes over and over to pick up a melody line, because he was pretty frail and quavery when he recorded this; was closer to a talking blues the way he did it. I am so very happy this has become a semi-global project, and am equally pleased that both of you, and everyone else has been a part of it.
Congrats on your new grandson!
Thank you for including me, and for all the work I can see that you are doing to organize this project. Can't wait to hear it!
Ron, I just want to join Letha in saying THANK YOU for putting your time, effort and imagination into this project. I have not recorded in 2 years or put pen to paper in sometime, the wide range of styles on this is really cool and inspirational far beyond Townes music. WELL DONE OILY.
I appreciate the thanks, but wait until you hear the whole thing :-) I'm working with Dan Sleep right now to get a site / folder where I can send him the zip file so it can be downloaded from the Nation. Problem is, we have a 12-15 hour time lag between question and response :-). But we're getting there. I'm still arranging tracks so that there's not too much similarity between songs / keys / styles, and I have to place a Tecumseh Valley version towards the beginning and the end so they're not back to back...also, because of the different recordings, I have to equalize the volumes on all the final tracks, get 'em numbered in sequence and tagged properly, things like that. I'm also going to include lyrics sheets as a Word doc, so that anyone else can see 'em with the download. And I'm trying to do this while working, and preparing for a summer of flights, trains and different baseball venues. We just had our Little League baseball all star travel team banquet last night, and I had to help my wife with the slide show, photos, music, etc. She did a fantastic job! I really do appreciate y'alls patience with me on this; it's the usual logistical cleanup details after all the creativity. But it's coming. Real soon now.
I'm just glad that it has inspired everyone to contribute, show off their stuff, maybe get the creative juices flowing again.
Well, the album is finished! Woo Hoo! Just wanted to let y'all know, the reason you haven't seen the download yet is a combination of factors. Dan Sleep and I spent a good portion of yesterday e-mailing back and forth, first trying to get the zip file from my computer to his. We finally got that worked out, he checked it, and loaded it to the cbgitty server where the other previous CBN compilation albums reside. For some reason neither of us is sure of, I couldn't download it from there, even though we tested one of the other compilation album files, and I could download that one just fine. I suspect it's a file permissions issue on the folder on gitty's server, but we've gotta wait for Ben Gitty to take a look at it. It being a national holiday in the US, y'all should be spending time with your families and friends, while those of us in other countries will just have to exercise patience for another day or two at most (I'm hoping). I can tell you that I think the album sounds amazing. Dan has listened to it, and sez we have a lotta good tracks. I will be issuing a Download Discussion album release announcement as soon as we know the file is downloadable for everyone everywhere. I truly appreciate your patience; it's been 3 and a half months since I first broached this project idea, and y'all stepped up and far exceeded what I thought this could be. I sincerely apologize for the delay, and ask you to wait just a teensy tad longer while we get the tech glitches sorted.
this is amazing two of my favorite things in this world, townes van zandt music and cbg's. i am blown away i don't know if you can wear out a download like you could an old album but i must be gettin close. All you involved did a fantastic job covering one of the best song writing picking poets that hit this planet. good one :) thank you... i find it amusing that i can sign on one day and find this, and one other day i was walking down broadway in nashville bar hopping, and when ever i could i would ask the band at the bar if they could play some townes and not one of them knew who he was...
tragic... when I heard about Ron's TVZ-project, I only remembered the name Townes Van Zandt and one or two songs. I thought nobody here in Austria would know about him, but 2 months later I found a Townes Van Zandt-CD in the living room of a close friend who also plays in a band with me... but forgot to tell me...