Wino Wednesday: Exclusive Track Premiere of “Nothing” from Townes Van Zandt Tribute 3-Way Split with Scott Kelly and Steve Von Till
Come June 12, the good souls at Neurot Recordings will release a three-way split CD tribute to Townes Van Zandt that features none other than Scott “Wino” Weinrich alongside Neurosis vocalist/guitarists Scott Kelly and Steve Von Till. The Nashville singer-songwriter’s melancholic minimalism has had an impact on all three players’ solo outings, perhaps least of all Wino‘s Adrift, though given that he added a version of “Highway Kind” from Van Zandt‘s 1972 album High, Low and in Between, one imagines that will change when he does his next acoustic album. When Wino toured with Scott Kelly in early 2011 in support of Adrift, the two covered Van Zandt both individually and together (Kelly does a version of “Tecumseh Valley” here, which he played on that tour as well), and I seem to recall Wino crediting Kelly with having introduced him to Van Zandt‘s work in the first place.
So the ties are there both between Wino and the material and Wino and these players. Von Till‘s own excellent solo acoustic work derives heavily from Van Zandt‘s and he covered “Spider” on his 2008 offering, A Grave is a Grim Horse, so couple that with Kelly being a bandmate of Wino‘s in Shrinebuilder, and all three of them having performed Van Zandt material in the past, and a release like Songs of Townes Van Zandt seems almost inevitable, something like the culmination — or at very least the solidifying — on an appreciation that has played out for several years already. The song “Nothing” appeared as “Nothin'” on 1971’s Delta Momma Blues and subsequently on the posthumously-released Absolutely Nothing, and has a haunting melody as delivered by Wino that more than earns the ‘g’ on the end of the word.
I’m honored today to premiere “Nothing” from Songs of Townes Van Zandt as performed by Wino. You’ll find it on the player below, followed by some context from Neurot about the release. Please enjoy and have a happy Wino Wednesday:
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Townes Van Zandt never reached significant fame during his lifetime. Although highly respected by his peers and other songwriters, the mood and atmosphere of his music, coupled with his sometimes dark and sarcastic nature, was not suitable for the commercial country-industry of Nashville.
Van Zandt’s songs did, however, reach popularity in his day through artists such as Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard and Emmylou Harris. Within his circle of outsider singer-songwriters, he was adored, though ultimately depression and alcoholism overshadowed his life. Van Zandt’s friend, singer Steve Earle, has been quoted as saying, “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.”
Van Zandt passed away in 1997, and the fact that artists as diverse as Robert Plant, Mudhoney, Norah Jones, Lyle Lovett and Dylan himself have kept his songs alive and vital is a testament to the influence and impact of his music.
So now do Steve Von Till, Scott Kelly and Wino stand and sing his tribute, each focusing on the essence of Van Zandt’s music and lyrics in his own personal way. The result is a great homage, whose intensity lies in fragility and elementary human truths. Van Zandt’s brokenhearted love songs and gloom-ridden tales are most deserving of this tribute and praise.Tags: Neurot Recordings, Scott Kelly, Steve Von Till, Wino, Wino Wednesday