I found out about Townes Van Zandt long after I was into the blues.
But maybe that’s a good thing.
Earlier into my listening days, I may have written him off just because he was described as country music.
We all get older, and we hopefully realize that everything we were so sure about was absolutely wrong.
Due to a country music craze in college, I was exposed to modern country radio hits constantly. For years, I would be that guy that would say ‘I like a lot of music, except country.’
Townes van Zandt’s music came to me after I had been primed by two artists: Scrapper Blackwell and Alvin Youngblood Hart.
Blackwell’s song Nobody Loves You When You’re Down and Out really stood out to me. For some reason it reminded me of the song You’ve Got a Friend in Me from Toy Story.
This association made me begin to wake up to the possibility that country music was approachable for me.
Alvin Youngblood Hart is a contemporary artist who I discovered by chance while roving on YouTube. When I dug into his music, my favorite tracks were his country inspired tunes.
His song Tallacatcha really stood out to me:
These two artists primed me for Townes van Zandt’s music coming to me in exactly the right place and time.
I was ready for an artist like him and I was holed-up reading about music in a rainy hotel in Salzburg.
Although it was not the first time I had seen Van Zandt’s name, this time I stopped and listened.
Waitin’ Around to Die was the first song I came across:
What Townes taught me, is that I can feel the expression of his art, even though it’s clothed in a country approach. The music permeated the hard shell I had put up against country music touching me.
Thank god it did.
When something we resent becomes something we love, it shows how many little ideals we baselessly hold onto.
It also shows us the process of letting go.
I love how we learn lessons through a seemingly disconnected series of events lining up perfectly.
When we see the result, we cannot imagine life having worked any differently.
Everything is easier to see in retrospect though—
—and the journey always continues.