"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." - Steve Earle.
I seriously hope I've mentioned Townes Van Zandt in this space previously. I also seriously hope that any of you who have even the tiniest bit of affinity for country or folk or blues music already know who Townes is and already own (at the very least) Live at the Old Quarter. If you know the song "Pancho and Lefty", you know Townes' writing -- get to know his music, too.
Margaret Brown's documentary, Be Here To Love Me (premiered at Angelika here in NYC December 2nd) is a long overdue look at his music and life, which was ceaslessly tempestuous. In his 20's he was administered shock treatment after being committed for falling from a four story window willingly ("to see what it felt like"), and the result erased much of his childhood memories. This inability to cement connections in his life led to a continual wandering, and the film takes a very intimate look at the people, friends, and family who all were affected by this.
That bit about "falling" out of a window is news to me, but matches my perception of the guy. The resulting damage also explains a lot about him. In many ways he was a typical "broken" genius.
The post title is the opening lyric to one of my all time favorite TVZ songs, "Lungs":
Well, won't you lend your lungs to me? Mine are collapsing Plant my feet and bitterly breathe Up the time that's passing. Breath I'll take and breath I'll give Pray the day ain't poison Stand among the ones that live In lonely indecision.