about-townes: Review: RVM, People Magazine
          Wed, 12 Mar 1997 09:15:57 -0500 (EST)
          James Porteous 

          Townes Van Zandt 

   REAR VIEW MIRROR Townes Van Zandt
   It is perhaps the final twist of a lifetime filled with them that when
   songwriter Townes Van Zandt died of a heart attack in January at age
   52, he was just weeks away from the release of Rear View Mirror--a
   live best-of album that no doubt would have helped rejuvenate the
   career of this troubled Texas troubadour. For now, it will have to
   serve as a temporary memorial to the author of such powerful classics
   as "Pancho and Lefty" and "If I Needed You"--at least until a proper
   tribute record can be put together by the many folk and country
   artists (such as Emmylou Harris, Lyle Lovett and Steve Earle) who have
   long acknowledged this cult hero's profound influence.
   Anyone familiar with Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard's hit version of
   "Pancho and Lefty" or Nanci Griffith's gripping "Tecumseh Valley" can
   attest to the timeless quality of Van Zandt's songs; they seem to have
   dropped from the skies rather than from an earthly pen. Hearing them
   sung by their composer, one feels the heart of darkness that created
   them. While his work often dealt with death (he was plagued by mental
   and alcohol problems since his youth), Van Zandt viewed mortality with
   a surprisingly healthy perspective. "It won't be long till I'll be
   tying on my flyin' shoes," he sings on one of the many riveting tunes
   here. Hopefully they've lifted him up to that peaceful place he could
   never find down here. (Sugar Hill)BILLY ALTMAN

James Porteous
     ** Web Reviews   **   Freelance Writer   **   Music Reviews  **

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