When asked who he thought the best songwriter was, Steve Earle at once proudly declared, “Townes Van Zandt is the best songwriter in the whole world and I’ll stand on Bob Dylan’s coffee table in my cowboy boots and say that.”
When word of this got to Townes, he 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.”
I had an early drink at his grave in the late morning. To arrive at the lonely cemetery is to drive through an American suburban hell littered with burger wrappers from a Sonic drive thru and motor boats outfitted with top-of-the-line speaker systems ready to dominate the nearby lake. But all worth it. Townes has profoundly influenced my writing, music, and Texas culture.
Our Mother The Mountain is my favorite album I've ever heard and still gets me teary eyed from time to time.
But I know any connection beyond a drink shared between strangers would be feigned. Our friendship is a brown paper bag. So here's to hoping you found peace beneath that old oak tree in that quiet, humble family plot.
Enjoy the rest of the whiskey.