“Townes Van Zandt ranks alongside Kris Kristofferson and Bob Dylan,” says Grammy-winning country artist Rodney Crowell of the late singer-songwriter. “He inspired so many songwriters to shoot for something that’s timeless.” On Sunday, Oct. 9, Van Zandt, known for songs like “Pancho & Lefty,” “If I Needed You,” “Tecumseh Valley” and “No Place to Fall”, was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.
Born in Houston to an affluent family, Van Zandt chose the life of a troubadour. Immersed in the Houston nightlife of the 1960s, he associated with fellow musicians Guy Clark, Jerry Jeff Walker, and Doc Watson. His debut album For The Sake of the Song, released in 1968, launched his reputation as a “songwriter’s songwriter”.
Townes’ influence on Texas, and Austin country music, endures today, and to honor the country legend, we’ve shaken the dust off of some old Studio 1A sessions of Townes from 1984, which you can hear below, and put together some of our favorite performances by the man himself.
Listen to a few tracks from Townes Van Zandt in Studio 1A at the bottom of this post. Enjoy!
– Sam Harrell
Townes Van Zandt- Pancho & Lefty
Townes Van Zandt- If I Needed you
Townes Van Zandt & Nanci Griffith- Tecumseh Valley