Archive for April, 2008


Heartworn Highways

I waited way too long to check out this amazing documentary. A big reason, I’m ashamed to admit and at a loss to explain, is the big gaping hole of ignorance where my love for Townes Van Zandt should obviously be. In the early 70′s Van Zandt and Guy Clark mentored an outlaw (way before the term became a country music marketing concept) singer/songwriter movement that was a back-to-roots reaction to the sleek, cookie cutter glitz that dominated the Nashville scene. Filmmakers Graham Leader and James Szalapski went down to Austin TX in 1975 and filmed a laid back intimate portrait of a bunch of young artists that would have a tremendous influence on country music in the next ten to fifteen years.

Townes fans are in for a treat as he really hams it up for the camera, gives a tour of his trailer with a rifle in one hand and a whiskey bottle in the other then delivers a startlingly poignant version of the first song he ever wrote (‘Waiting Around To Die’).

Clark’s rendition of ‘Desperadoes Waiting for the Train’ is equally heartbreaking and the best scene in the film takes place around his dining room table on Christmas eve: an old-school guitar pull that features a twenty year-old Steve Earle and a twenty five year-old Rodney Crowell trading tunes with Clark and criminally under appreciated songwriter Steve Young.

I’ve always been a big Steve Earle fan and I think the tunes he performs in the film are some of the best work he’s ever done. It’s hard to imagine why he would wait twenty years to record ‘Mercenary Song’ and never release ‘Darlin’ Commit Me’ at all.

Darlin’ Commit Me
(that’s John Hiatt in the red sweater)

Mercenary Song
(Camera opens on Guy & Susanna Clark. That CRAZY shirt is all over Rodney Crowell like a cheap suit. I love how everyone joins in on the chorus. How much fun does that Christmas Eve party look like?)

Click on the DVD cover to purchase

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Quick note about the tunes

The mp3s on this blog are to give folks a little taste. Imagine they're those little pouches on the bag your Sunday paper comes in. You know, the one's with a packet containing just enough toothpaste to brush your teeth once or twice. They are left up for a limited time. If you find something you like support the artists by dragging your friends to their shows and/or buying their CDs/records/schwag. If you are the artist (or their label/representative) and don't want an mp3 on here, please email me ( and I'll remove it posthaste.
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