To Live's To Fly (Paperback)


Winner of the 2008 ASCAP Award for Best Music Book of the Year!

Not unlike fellow alt-country inspiration Gram Parsons, Townes Van Zandt was born rich yet became an iconic country singer and countercultural hero. Discovering Leadbelly, Mance Lipscomb, and Lightnin' Hopkins at an early age, he was an ardent "Elvis fan and a good Elvis mimic" to boot. Recognized reasonably widely as "a living legend, albeit more often than not an unknown one," he got fellow alt-country icon Steve Earle's nod as "the best songwriter in the world," which sentiment Earle said he'd "stand on Bob Dylan's coffee table and say." Van Zandt famously replied, "I've met Bob Dylan's bodyguards and if Steve Earle thinks he can stand on Bob Dylan's coffee table, he's sadly mistaken." Self-deprecating, wistful, haunted by a rasher of demons, Van Zandt died young, leaving behind such songs as Willie Nelson's hit "Pancho & Lefty" and influencing many younger performers. Kruth's enthusiasm for Van Zandt is obvious throughout his detail-laden yet very readable book, which well might revive Van Zandt's memory.

Mike Tribby
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