Townes Van Zandt - Sky Blue - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Townes Van Zandt - Sky Blue

by Ljubinko Zivkovic Rating:9 Release Date:2019-03-08
Townes Van Zandt - Sky Blue
Townes Van Zandt - Sky Blue

Townes Van Zandt is one of those singer/songwriters that everybody knows about, particularly fellow musicians, but never truly made it as far as any commercial success. As far as his musical and lyrical influence is concerned, he is still probably one of those artists that have, and are still making a true impact. Sky Blue, a set of previously unreleased material, dubbed as demos and recorded in a friend's private home studio, simply confirm both facts.

What Sky Blue exemplifies is that Van Zandt is that firm link between the original folk artists and those that drew on those roots later on. He knew, or felt, that the  true power of folk music lies in storytelling. You always have to have a story to tell, and you do not only have to have a good story, but there must be a compelling way to tell it. And Van Zandt always had both, whether those stories were his or somebody else’s.

It is actually a misnomer to call the material on Sky Blue demos because as far as his live shows went, Van Zandt preferred the situation where it was him, his voice, guitar, and audience. Such a simple setup is the one that bares everything and you really have to be great to shine in such a situation.

And Van Zandt shines on Sky Blue. But then, he always did. Through a set of songs he never officially released, a couple of songs from The Late Great Townes Van Zandt, one of which, “Pancho and Lefty” is probably one of the most covered Americana songs and a few choice covers of other people’s material, Van Zandt is bare, unadulterated and maybe offers the key why wider audiences may have shied away from him.

You see, with Van Zandt there was never any sugarcoating, so typical of commercial country music, and like Charles Bukowski or Raymond Carver, or Dennis Johnson, Van Zandt’s stories are full of lost souls and downtrodden, even touches of horror, like on “Dream Spider” or “Rex’s Song”. With just his voice and guitar, you can’t be but enamoured by his stories and music. Absolutely essential.

Comments (2)

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Great review. TVZ is one of my faves and love Live at The Old Quarter. When I was too young to know better, I did see him get up and sing one line at someone else's show. A minor brush with a legend. Looking forward to hearing this.

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Great review. Its hard to believe now but there was a time when no one knew who he was. The fact he grows more popular with each year is a testament to his work and how it continues to touch so many people so deeply. I bought my first TVZ in the...

Great review. Its hard to believe now but there was a time when no one knew who he was. The fact he grows more popular with each year is a testament to his work and how it continues to touch so many people so deeply. I bought my first TVZ in the mid 90's because I liked the cover. I had no idea who he was. It knocked me for an unexpected loop. Was life changing. This release is a dream come true for fans. So damn good.

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Comment was last edited about 1 week ago by Kevin Orton Kevin Orton
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