Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Songs of Renown: Townes Van Zandt- high, low and in-between

High, low and in-between
Townes Van Zandt
Come from a long line
High, low and in between, same as you
Hills of golden, hails of poison
Time's thrown me through
And I believe I've come to learn
That turning 'round is to become confusion

 And the gold's no good for spending
And the poison's hungry waiting
What can you leave behind
When you're flying lightning fast and all alone?
Only a trace, my friend
Spirit of motion born and direction grown
The trace it will not fade in frozen skies
And your journey will be
And if a shadow don't seem much company
But who said it would be?
There is the highway
And the home-made lovin' kind, the highway's mine
And us ramblers will get the travelin' done
You fathers build with stones that stand and shine
Heaven's where you find it
And you can't take too much with you

 But daddy, don't you listen
It's just this highway talkin'
All things that are alive
Are brothers in the soil and in the sky
And I believe it with my blood, if not my eyes
I don't know why we can't be brothers here,
I know we should be
Answers don't seem easy
and I'm wondering if they could be

The Texan singer-songwriter Townes Van Zandt, who died in 1997 aged just 52 after a long struggle with mental illness and addiction, is considered by many  to be one of the finest contemporary Aamerican songwriters.

Townes Van Zandt is revered and admired by musicians and musical aficionados alike as one of the most evocative lyricists in contemporary music. 

Van Zandt wrote songs of immense beauty, sadness, alienation and despair and pathos, many of which draw from his conscious and unconscious experience and from historical and personal events. 

There is a timeless, poetic and deeply philosophical quality to his lyrics which stand as poetry first, then as music.  For Van Zandt it was essential that songs work as poetry first and he worked tirelessly to craft his song lyrics.

The song High, low and in-between was the final track on his early 70's album of the same name.

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