TOWNES van Zandt is one of the great singer songwriters of late 20th Century America, a man who despite suffering from drug and alcohol addictions and manic depression still managed to write some of the finest songs in the US country rock canon.
Like a lot of tragic rock and roll stories, he died in 1997, aged 51, after years of battling his addictions.
He is best known for the song Pancho and Lefty which became a number one song on the US country charts after being recorded by Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard.It remains one of the most unique 'country' songs written.
Steve Earle, a man who has faced and beaten myriad pharmaceutical demons himself, has recently recorded a tribute album of Townes' songs.
Van Zandt took Earle under his wing when the latter, as a teenager, moved to Nashville and then Houston to study under his mentor's wing.
The new album, Townes, is an extraordinarily beautiful testament to a tortured man's great gift for telling stories to music.
This podcast comes from the peerless Sound Opinions show on Chicago Public Radio in the US. I hope you enjoy Steve Earle as much as we do at GM.