Townes Van Zandt
born on 7/3/1944 in Fort Worth, TX, United States
died on 1/1/1997 in Mount Juliet, TN, United States
Townes Van Zandt
John Townes Van Zandt (March 7 1944 – January 1 1997), best known as Townes Van Zandt, was a country-folk music singer-songwriter, performer, and poet. Many of his songs, including "If I Needed You," "To Live Is To Fly," and "No Place to Fall" are considered standards of their genre. AllMusic has called him "one of the greatest country and folk artists of his generation."
While alive, Van Zandt was labeled as a cult musician: though he had a small and devoted fanbase, he never had a successful album or single, and even had difficulty keeping his recordings in print. In 1983, Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard covered his song "Pancho and Lefty", scoring a number one hit on the Billboard country music charts. Despite achievements like these, the bulk of his life was spent touring various dive bars, often living in cheap motel rooms, backwoods cabins and on friends' couches. Van Zandt was notorious for his drug addictions, alcoholism, and his tendency to tell tall tales. He suffered from manic depression, and attempts to treat it with insulin shock therapy erased much of his long-term memory.
Van Zandt died on New Years Day 1997 from health problems stemming from years of substance abuse. The 2000s saw a resurgence of interest in Van Zandt. During the decade, two books, a documentary film and a number of magazine articles about the singer were created. Van Zandt's music has been covered by such notable and varied musicians as Bob Dylan, Lyle Lovett, Norah Jones, Steve Earle and The Meat Puppets.
Townes Van Zandt was born in Fort Worth, Texas, to a wealthy oil family. He was the third-great-grandson of Isaac Van Zandt, a prominent leader of the Republic of Texas and second great-grandson of Khleber M. Van Zandt, Confederate Major and one of the founders of Fort Worth. Van Zandt County in east Texas was named after his family in 1848. Townes' parents were Harris Williams Van Zandt (1913 - 1966) and Dorothy Townes (? - 1983). He had two siblings, Bill and Donna. Harris was a corporate lawyer, and his career required the family to move several times during the 1950s and 1960s. In 1952, the family transplanted from Fort Worth to Midland, Texas for six months before moving to Billings, Montana.
Townes was given a guitar by his father for Christmas in 1956, which he practiced while wandering the countryside. He would later tell an interviewer that watching Elvis Presley's October 28, 1956 performance "on The Ed Sullivan Show was the starting point for me becoming a guitar player... I just thought that Elvis had all the money in the world, all the Cadillacs and all the girls, and all he did was play the guitar and sing. That made a big impression on me." In 1958, the family moved to Boulder, Colorado. Van Zandt would remember his time in Colorado fondly and would often visit it as an adult. He would also later reference Colorado in the songs "My Proud Mountains" and "Colorado Girl".
During his youth, Townes was noted as a good student and active in team sports. In grade school, it was recognized that Van Zandt had a genius IQ and his parents began grooming him to become a lawyer or senator. Fearing that his family would move again, he willingly decided to attend Shattuck School in Faribault, Minnesota. He received a score of 1170 when he took the SAT test in January 1962. His family soon moved to Houston, Texas.
Van Zandt was accepted into the University of Colorado at Boulder in 1962. In the spring of his sophomore year, his parents flew to Boulder to bring Townes back to Houston, apparently worried about his binge drinking and episodes of depression. They admitted him to Galveston's University of Texas Medical Branch, where he was diagnosed with manic depression. He received three months of insulin shock therapy, which erased much of his long-term memory. In 1965, he was accepted into the University of Houston's pre-law program. He soon after attempted to join the Air Force, but was rejected due to a doctor's diagnosis that called him "an acute manic-depressive who has made minimal adjustments to life." He finally quit school for good around 1967, having been inspired by his singer-songwriter heroes to pursue a career in playing music.
Early musical career
In 1965, Van Zandt began playing regular shows at the Jester Lounge in Houston, where he met fellow musicians Lightning Hopkins, Guy Clark, Jerry Jeff Walker, and Doc Watson. His repertoire consisted mostly of covers of songs written by Hopkins, Bob Dylan and others, as well as original novelty songs like "Fraternity Blues." In 1966, right before his death, Harris Van Zandt had encouraged his son to stop playing covers and write his own songs. In 1968, Van Zandt met songwriter Mickey Newbury in a Houston coffee shop. Newbury persuaded Van Zandt to go to Nashville, where he was introduced by Newbury to the man who would become his longtime producer, "Cowboy" Jack Clement.
Among Van Zandt's major influences was Texas blues man Lightnin' Hopkins, whose songs were a constant part of his repertoire. He also cited early Bob Dylan and Hank Williams as having had a major impact on his music. Van Zandt also cited such various artists as Guy Clark, Muddy Waters, Mozart, The Rolling Stones, Blind Willie McTell, Tchaikovsky, Richard Dobson, and Jefferson Airplane as influences.
For much of his career, Van Zandt maintained a flippant attitude towards the recording process, with songwriting being his primary concern. As a result, his regular producer Jack Clement would take creative license, turning some of Van Zandt's early albums into uneven and wildly over-produced affairs. 1968's For the Sake of the Song features "harpsichords, flutes, martial drum beats, and a whole host of backup singers that would make the most overproduced Southern Gospel album hang its head in disgrace." Clement has since expressed regret over some of his production choices.
The years between 1968 and 1973 would eventually prove to be Van Zandt's most prolific era. He released five albums during the time period: Our Mother the Mountain, Townes Van Zandt, Delta Momma Blues, High, Low and in Between, and The Late Great Townes Van Zandt. Among the tracks written for these albums were "For the Sake of the Song," "To Live's to Fly," "Tecumseh Valley," and "Pancho and Lefty." These songs would eventually raise Van Zandt to near-legend status in American and European songwriting circles. In 1972, Van Zandt recorded tracks for an album with a working title of Seven Come Eleven, which would remain unreleased for many years due to a dispute between his manager Kevin Eggers and producer Jack Clement. Eggers either could not or refused to pay for the studio sessions, so Clement erased the master tapes. However, before they were deleted, Eggers snuck in to the studio and recorded rough mixes of the songs on to a cassette tape. Tracks from the aborted Seven Come Eleven debacle would later surface on The Nashville Sessions.
In 1975, Van Zandt was featured prominently in the documentary film Heartworn Highways with Guy Clark, Steve Earle, and David Allen Coe. His segment of the film was shot at his run-down trailer home in Austin, where Van Zandt is shown drinking straight whiskey during the middle of the day, shooting and playing with guns, and performing the songs "Waitin' Around to Die" and "Pancho & Lefty". His soon-to-be second wife Cindy and dog Geraldine (a large, "keenly intelligent" half-wolf, half-husky) are also featured in the film.
In 1977, Live at the Old Quarter, Houston, Texas was released. The album showcased Van Zandt solo at a 1973 concert before a small audience, free from the over-production that shackled many of his early records. The album received extremely positive reviews, and is considered by many to be among the best albums that the songwriter ever released. Several points on the album showcased his dry sense of humor, a feature that also showed in some of his songwriting.
In the mid-1970s, Van Zandt split from his longtime manager, Kevin Eggers. He found a new manager, John Lomax III (grandson of the famed folk music historian John Lomax), who set up a fan club for Van Zandt. Though the club was only advertised through small ads in the back of music magazines, Lomax immediately began to receive hundreds of impassioned letters from around the world written by people who felt touched by Van Zandt. Some of the letters described how his material often served as a crutch for those who were dealing with depression. In the summer of 1978, the singer fired Lomax and re-hired Eggers. He soon after signed to Egger's new label, Tomato Records. The following year, he recorded Flyin' Shoes; he would not release another album until 1987's At My Window.
Despite critical acclaim, Van Zandt remained a cult figure. He normally played small venues (often to crowds of fewer than 50 people) but began to move towards playing larger venues (and even made a handful of television appearances) during the 1990s. For much of the 1970s, he lived a reclusive life outside of Nashville in a tin-roofed, bare-boards shack with no heat, plumbing or telephone, occasionally appearing in town to play shows. Steve Earle would later say that Van Zandt's primary concerns during this time period were planting morning glories, listening to Paul Harvey's radio show, and watching the sitcom Happy Days.
1980s - 1990s
Several of Van Zandt's compositions were recorded by other artists, such as Emmylou Harris who, with Don Williams, had a #3 country hit in 1981 with "If I Needed You," and Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard, the pair taking "Pancho & Lefty" to number one on the country charts in 1983. Van Zandt had a small cameo in the video for the song. In his later years he recorded less frequently, his voice and singing style altered in part because of his lifestyle and alcoholism. However, he still produced impressive songs, such as "Marie" and "The Hole".
According to Susanna Clark, Van Zandt turned down repeated invitations to write with Bob Dylan. Dylan was reportedly a "big fan" of Townes and claimed to have all of his records; Van Zandt admired Dylan's songs, but didn't care for his celebrity. The two first met during a chance encounter outside a costume shop in the South Congress district of Austin, Texas on June 21, 1986. According to Johnny Guess, Dylan later arranged another meeting with the songwriter. The Drag in Austin was shut down due to Dylan being in town; Van Zandt drove his motorhome to the quartered-off area, after which Dylan boarded the vehicle and requested to hear him play several songs.
In May and June 1990, he opened for The Cowboy Junkies during a two-month-long tour of the United States and Canada, which exposed him to a younger generation of fans. As a result, he wrote the song "Cowboy Junkies Lament" for the group, with a verse about each respective member of the band.
Van Zandt married Fran Petters on August 26, 1965; a son, John Townes "J.T." Van Zandt II, was born to them on April 11, 1969 in Houston. The couple were divorced on January 16, 1970. She would later remarry, changing her last name to Lohr.
He moved in with Cindy Morgan in late 1974, and the two married in Nashville in September 1978. They became estranged for much of the early 1980s, and were divorced on February 10, 1983 in Travis County, Texas. They had no children together. She would later remarry, changing her last name to Lindgram.
Van Zandt's third and final marriage was to Jeanene Munsell (born February 21, 1957). They met on December 9, 1980 at a memorial for John Lennon. When the fatally ill Dorothy Van Zandt learned that her son had impregnated Munsell, she told him, "You're going to do the right thing and honor that baby." He soon after divorced from his estranged second wife, and married Munsell on March 14, 1983; their first child, William Vincent, was born ten days later. Another child, Katie Belle, was born February 14, 1992. Van Zandt and Munsell were divorced on May 2, 1994. However, the two remained close until Townes' death, and Jeanene became an executor of the Estate of Townes Van Zandt.
Around the time of their April 1993 separation, Jeanene Van Zandt coaxed the musician into signing over the publishing rights of his entire back catalog and recording royalties to her and their children. Townes's only source of income after this point was money received from concert engagements, and even then Townes would frequently visit his ex-wife and "give her all the money in his pockets." Following their divorce in 1994, his only worldly possessions were listed as a 1989 GMC Truck with camper shell, a 1984 Honda Shadow Motorcycle and a 1983 Starwind 22-foot boat named Dorothy; he also retained sole ownership of his family inheritance of "ownership in oil lease and mineral rights."
At the time of his death, he had begun a long-distance relationship with a woman named Claudia Winterer from Darmstadt, Germany. The two met in November 1995 during a concert of his in Hanau. Van Zandt told several friends that he planned on marrying Winterer, but the two never became formally engaged.
Generally shy and reserved, Van Zandt struggled with heroin addiction and alcoholism throughout his adult life. At times he would become drunk on stage and forget the lyrics to his songs. Some critics believe his alcoholism inhibited his performances, whereas others believe it made his lyrical expression more genuine. At one point, his heroin habit was so intense that he offered Kevin Eggers the publishing rights to all of the songs on each of his first four albums for $20. At various points, Van Zandt's friends saw him shoot up not just heroin, but also cocaine, vodka, as well as a mixture of rum and Coke. On at least one occasion, he shot up heroin in the presence of his son J.T., who was only eight years old at the time.
As a result of Van Zandt's constant drinking, Harold Eggers, Kevin's brother, was hired on as his tour manager and 24-hour caretaker in 1976, a partnership that would last for the rest of the singer's life. Although the musician was many years older than he was, Eggers would later say that Van Zandt was his "first child."
Van Zandt's battle with addiction led him to be admitted to rehab almost a dozen times throughout the 1970s and 1980s. Medical records from his time in recovery centers show that he believed his drinking had become a problem around 1973, and by 1982 he was drinking at least a pint of vodka daily. Doctors notes reported: "He admits to hearing voices, mostly musical voices," and "Affect is blunted and mood is sad. Judgment and insight is impaired." At various points in his life, he was prescribed to take the antidepressants Zoloft and lithium. His final and longest period of sobriety during his adult life was a period of about a year in 1989 and 1990.
Van Zandt continued writing and performing through the 1990s, though his output slowed noticeably as time went on. He had enjoyed some sobriety during the early 1990s, but was actively abusing alcohol during the final years of his life. In 1994, he was admitted to the hospital to detox, during which time a doctor told Jeanene Van Zandt that trying to detox Townes again could potentially kill him. He grew increasingly frail during the mid-1990s, with some long-time friends noting that he seemed to have "withered."
In the spring of 1996, he was contacted by Sonic Youth's Steve Shelley, who informed Van Zandt that he was interested in recording and releasing an album for him on the band's Ecstatic Peace label, funded by Geffen. Van Zandt agreed, and sessions were scheduled to begin in Memphis during late December of that year.
On December 19 or 20, Van Zandt fell down the concrete stairs outside his home, badly injuring his hip. After lying outside for an hour, he dragged himself inside and called his ex-wife Jeanene, who sent their friends Royann and Jim Calvin to check on him. He told the couple that he had sustained the injury while getting out of bed, and refused medical treatment. They took him back to their home, and he spent the Christmas week on their couch, unable to even get up to use the bathroom.
Determined to finish the album that he had scheduled to record with Shelley and Two Dollar Guitar, Van Zandt showed up to the Memphis studio being pushed in a wheelchair by road manager Harold Eggers. Shelley canceled the sessions due to the songwriter's erratic behavior and drunkenness. Van Zandt finally agreed to hospitalization, but not before returning to Nashville. By the time he had consented to receive medical care, eight days passed since the injury. On December 31, X-rays revealed that Van Zandt had an impacted left femoral neck fracture in his hip, and several corrective surgeries were performed. Jeanene informed the surgeon that one of Townes' previous rehab doctors had told her detoxing could kill him. The medical staff tried to explain to her that detoxing a "late-term alcoholic" at home would be ill advised, but he would have a better chance at recovering under hospital supervision. She did not heed these warnings, and instead checked Townes out of the hospital against medical advice. Understanding that he would most likely drink immediately after leaving the hospital, the physicians refused to prescribe him any painkillers.
By the time Van Zandt was checked out of the hospital early the next morning, he had begun to show signs of DTs. Jeanene rushed him to her car, where she gave him a flask of vodka to ward off the withdrawal delirium. She would later report that after getting back to his home in Smyrna, Tennessee and giving him alcohol, he was "lucid, in a real good mood, calling his friends on the phone." Jim Calvin shared a marijuana joint with him, and he was also given about four Tylenol PM tablets.
While Jeanene was on the phone with Susanna Clark, their son Will noticed that Townes had stopped breathing and "looked dead." He alerted his mother, who attempted to perform CPR, "screaming his name between breaths." Townes Van Zandt died in the early morning hours of January 1, 1997 at the age of 52. His official cause of death was "natural" cardiac arrhythmia. He died 44 years to the day after Hank Williams, one of his main songwriting influences.
Two services were held for Van Zandt: one in Texas, mostly attended by family; and another in a large Nashville church, attended by friends, acquaintances, and fans. Some of his ashes were placed underneath a headstone in the Van Zandt family plot at the Dido Cemetery in Dido, Texas, outside of Fort Worth.
Legal issues over Van Zandt's work
In the years immediately following Van Zandt's death, his former manager and label owner Kevin Eggers issued 14 albums of both new and previously unreleased material by the singer, all without consent of his estate (represented by Jeanene Van Zandt and his three children). Eggers also claimed a 50% interest in 80 of Van Zandt's songs. After nearly ten years of legal battles, the court sided with the estate, issuing "injunctive relief against Eggers, restraining him from reproducing or distributing any of Van Zandt's songs."
It was revealed through these proceedings that Van Zandt's annual income in the years before his death had climbed to over $100,000, thanks in large part to the royalties accrued from his songs being covered by Willie Nelson, Emmylou Harris, Merle Haggard, Cowboy Junkies and other major music stars.
After Van Zandt's death, Harold Eggers (Kevin's brother, Van Zandt's longtime road manager), whose job it was to make sure Townes' shows were recorded, released many video and audio recordings from hundreds of the songwriter's concerts he kept in his possession over a 20-year period. At issue was whether Eggers or the estate should be in legal ownership of the tapes. An out-of-court settlement in 2006 "essentially granted the Van Zandts eventual control over all of Harold Eggers' mastered recordings (once certain undisclosed obligations were met), while Harold Eggers retained a 50% ownership interest in seven of the albums at issue and a royalty interest in the remaining recordings." However, both parties eventually found fault with the settlement and the issue was taken back to court.
On October 21, 2008, a number of Van Zandt's personal possessions were auctioned off at The Northside in Akron, Ohio at a benefit for Wrecks Bell, Van Zandt's close friend and bandmate who was the inspiration for the song "Rex's Blues." Bell was half owner of the nightclub in Houston where Townes recorded his album "Live at the Old Quarter, Houston TX." He now owns the "new" Old Quarter in Galveston, which was uninsured and destroyed by Hurricane Ike.
Van Zandt has been referred to as a cult musician and "a songwriter's songwriter." Musician Steve Earle, a close friend, once said Van Zandt was "the best songwriter in the whole world and I'll stand on Bob Dylan's coffee table in my cowboy boots and say that." The quote was printed on a sticker featured on the packing of At My Window, much to Van Zandt's displeasure. Van Zandt responded: "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."
Influential in the sub-genre referred to as outlaw country, his Texas-grounded impact stretched farther than country. He has been cited as a source of inspiration by such artists as Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Lyle Lovett, Emmylou Harris, Jim James of My Morning Jacket, Nanci Griffith, Cowboy Junkies, Vetiver, Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes, Simon Joyner, Caleb Followill of Kings Of Leon, Meat Puppets, Guy Clark, Rodney Crowell, Steve Earle, Hoyt Axton, Tindersticks, Devendra Banhart, Norah Jones, Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, The Be Good Tanyas, Gillian Welch, the Dixie Chicks, and Garth Brooks. Steve Earle paid his own homage to Van Zandt by writing "Fort Worth Blues" as a memorial to the night of his death. He also released a tribute album of Van Zandt's music in 2009, named "Townes".  Earle's eldest son, Justin Townes Earle, also a musician, is named after him.
In film and television
The Roadsongs album version of Van Zandt's cover of The Rolling Stones' "Dead Flowers" was used during the final scene of the Coen Brothers' 1998 film, The Big Lebowski. The song was also included on the movie's soundtrack.
In the 1998 film Stepmom, actress Julia Roberts sings "If I Needed You".
The 2008 film In Bruges featured Van Zandt's song "St. John The Gambler".
A cover of "Waiting Around to Die" by the Be Good Tanyas is featured in Season 2, Episode 3 of "Breaking Bad".
Films and books about Van Zandt
In 2006, the film Be Here To Love Me, chronicling the artist's life and musical career, was released in the United States. It was very well received, earning a 93% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Georgia Christgau of the Village Voice called the documentary "sympathetic but frank." Eddie Cockrell of Variety called the film "a dignified and wistful look at the unusual life, difficult career and lasting influence" of Van Zandt.
A biography, titled To Live's To Fly: The Ballad of the Late, Great Townes Van Zandt by John Kruth, was released in 2007. It received mixed reviews, with Publishers Weekly lamenting that Kruth's "efforts are diminished by oddly alternating first- and third-person narratives, awkward transitions and text cluttered with excessive quotes... more insight into why - rather than countless tales of how - would have made this bio a more worthwhile read."
In April 2008, the University of North Texas Press published Robert Earl Hardy's biography on the songwriter, titled A Deeper Blue: The Life and Music of Townes Van Zandt. The book featured the fruits of over eight years of research, including interviews with Mickey Newbury, Jack Clement, Guy and Susanna Clark, Mickey White, Rex Bell, Dan Rowland, Richard Dobson, John Lomax III, Van Zandt's brother and sister, cousins, and all three of his ex-wives, and many others. It has been described by Kirkus Reviews as a "poignant, clear and vivid portrait."
- For the Sake of the Song - 1968
- Our Mother the Mountain - 1969
- Townes Van Zandt - 1969
- Delta Momma Blues - 1971
- High, Low and in Between - 1972
- The Late Great Townes Van Zandt - 1972
- Flyin' Shoes - 1978
- At My Window - 1987
- The Nashville Sessions - 1993 (recordings from the aborted Seven Come Eleven album, recorded 1974)
- No Deeper Blue - 1994
- A Far Cry From Dead - 1999 (1989-96 demos posthumously overdubbed)
- Texas Rain: The Texas Hill Country Recordings - 2001
- In the Beginning - 2003 (recordings from 1966)
- Waiting Around To Die/Talking Karate Blues - 1968
- Second Lovers Song/Tecumseh Valley - 1969
- Come Tomorrow/Delta Mama Blues - 1971
- If I Needed You/Sunshine Boy - 1972
- Honky Tonkin'/Snow Dont Fall - 1972
- Fraulein/Don't Let the Sunshine Fool Ya - 1972
- Greensboro Woman/Standin' - 1972
- Pancho and Lefty/Heavenly Houseboat Blues - 1972
- Pancho and Lefty/If I Needed You - 1973
- Who Do You Love/Dollar Bill Blues - 1978
- When She Don't Need Me/No Place To Fall - 1978
- Dead Flowers/Fraulein/Racing In the Street - 1993 (German CD single)
- Ain't Leavin' Your Love - 1999 (US CD single)
- Riding The Range/Dirty Old Town 7" - 1996
- Snowin On Raton - 2001 (US CD single)-from Texas Rain
- Highwaykind - 2002 (CD single)
- Live at the Old Quarter, Houston, Texas - 1977 (recorded July 1973)
- Live and Obscure - 1987 (recorded in 1985)
- Rain on a Conga Drum: Live in Berlin - 1991 (recorded October 1990)
- Roadsongs - 1993
- Rear View Mirror - 1993 (recorded live Oklahoma, 1979)
- Abnormal - 1996 (reissued in 1998 with 3 tracks replaced)
- The Highway Kind - 1997
- Documentary - 1997
- Last Rights - 1997 (alternative version of Documentary)
- In Pain - 1999 (recorded live, 1994/1996)
- Together at the Bluebird Café w/ Guy Clark and Steve Earle - 2001 (recorded September 1995)
- Live at McCabe's - 2001 (recorded February 1995)
- A Gentle Evening with Townes Van Zandt - 2002 (recorded November 1969)
- Absolutely Nothing - 2002 (recorded 1991-1996)
- Acoustic Blue - 2003 (recorded 1994/1996)
- Live at the Jester Lounge, Houston, Texas, 1966 - 2004
- Rear View Mirror, Volume 2 - 2004 (recorded 1978/79)
- Live at Union Chapel, London, England - 2005 (recorded April 1994)
- Houston 1988: A Private Concert - 2005
- Heartworn Highways - 1981
- Be Here to Love Me - 2004
- Houston 1988: A Private Concert - 2004
- Last Rights: The Life & Times of Townes Van Zandt - 1997
- Master - 1997
- Anthology: 1968-1979 - 1998
- The Best of Townes Van Zandt - 1999
- Drama Falls Like Teardrops - 2001
- The Very Best of Townes Van Zandt: The Texan Troubadour - 2002
- Singer Songwriter - 2002
- Texas Troubadour - 2002
- Legend - 2003
- Buckskin Stallion - 2006
- 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Townes Van Zandt FAQ.
- 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 AllMusic biography page: "Townes Van Zandt".
- 3.0 3.1 Onion AV Club article: "Be Here To Love Me: A Film About Townes Van Zandt review".
- San Francisco Gate article: "Two Years After Death, Van Zandt May Have His Definitive Album".
- 5.0 5.1 5.2 Pop Matters review: "Pop Matters: Be Here To Love Me review".
- 7.0 7.1 7.2 http://www.townesvanzandt.com/ta_unedited.html
- 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 8.6 Texas Monthly article: The Great, Late Townes Van Zandt".
- A Deeper Blue: The Life & Music of Townes Van Zandt by Robert Earl Hardy; pp. 14-16.
- Billboard review: A Deeper Kind of Blue.
- A Deeper Blue: The Life & Music of Townes Van Zandt by Robert Earl Hardy; p. 17.
- A Deeper Blue: The Life & Music of Townes Van Zandt by Robert Earl Hardy; p. 25.
- A Deeper Blue: The Life & Music of Townes Van Zandt by Robert Earl Hardy; p. 27.
- A Deeper Blue: The Life & Music of Townes Van Zandt by Robert Earl Hardy; p. 60.
- A Deeper Blue: The Life & Music of Townes Van Zandt by Robert Earl Hardy; p. 212.
- In John Kruth's biography on the singer, To Live's to Fly, it is described how Van Zandt maintained a flippant attitude towards the recording process, with songwriting being his primary concern.
- 18.0 18.1 18.2 18.3 Pop Matters review: "For the Sake of the Song".
- IMDB entry for Heartworn Highways.
- 20.0 20.1 20.2 Dallas Music article: "Way of the Gun - Living up to his famous father is a tall order for J.T. Van Zandt".
- Blurt Online review: "Townes Van Zandt: Live at the Old Quarter".
- 22.0 22.1 Rolling Stone review: "Townes Van Zandt - Live At The Old Quarter, Houston, Texas"
- A Deeper Blue: The Life & Music of Townes Van Zandt by Robert Earl Hardy; p. 130.
- 24.0 24.1 24.2 Under The Radar article: "Interview with Margaret Brown".
- 25.0 25.1 25.2 25.3 A Deeper Blue: The Life & Music of Townes Van Zandt by Robert Earl Hardy; p. 203.
- Be Here to Love Me bonus features: Johnny Guess interview.
- 27.0 27.1 A Deeper Blue: The Life & Music of Townes Van Zandt by Robert Earl Hardy; p. 216.
- Texas Monthly article: "The Great, Late Townes Van Zandt".
- Cindy Van Zandt Lindgram's entry at IMDB.
- A Deeper Blue: The Life & Music of Townes Van Zandt by Robert Earl Hardy; p. 190.
- 31.0 31.1 A Deeper Blue: The Life & Music of Townes Van Zandt by Robert Earl Hardy; p. 230.
- A Deeper Blue: The Life & Music of Townes Van Zandt by Robert Earl Hardy; p. 228.
- A Deeper Blue: The Life & Music of Townes Van Zandt by Robert Earl Hardy; p. 229.
- A Deeper Blue: The Life & Music of Townes Van Zandt by Robert Earl Hardy; p. 231.
- A Deeper Blue: The Life & Music of Townes Van Zandt by Robert Earl Hardy; p. 232.
- A Deeper Blue: The Life & Music of Townes Van Zandt by Robert Earl Hardy; p. 241.
- A Deeper Blue: The Life & Music of Townes Van Zandt by Robert Earl Hardy; p. 266.
- 38.0 38.1 38.2 Austin Chronicle article: "Townes Without Pity: The Battle for Townes Van Zandt's legacy".
- A Deeper Blue: The Life & Music of Townes Van Zandt by Robert Earl Hardy; pp. 127-128.
- 40.0 40.1 40.2 A Deeper Blue: The Life & Music of Townes Van Zandt by Robert Earl Hardy; p. 195.
- Hittin' the Note article: "Townes Van Zandt - messages from the outside".
- 42.0 42.1 42.2 42.3 42.4 42.5 42.6 42.7 42.8 KUT-FM's Texas Music Matters: Townes Van Zandt Special.
- A Deeper Blue: The Life & Music of Townes Van Zandt by Robert Earl Hardy; p. 247.
- A Deeper Blue: The Life & Music of Townes Van Zandt by Robert Earl Hardy; p. 245.
- 45.0 45.1 45.2 A Deeper Blue: The Life & Music of Townes Van Zandt by Robert Earl Hardy; p. 255.
- 46.0 46.1 A Deeper Blue: The Life & Music of Townes Van Zandt by Robert Earl Hardy; p. 260.
- 47.0 47.1 A Deeper Blue: The Life & Music of Townes Van Zandt by Robert Earl Hardy; p. 261.
- 48.0 48.1 A Deeper Blue: The Life & Music of Townes Van Zandt by Robert Earl Hardy; p. 262.
- A Deeper Blue: The Life & Music of Townes Van Zandt by Robert Earl Hardy; p. 264.
- Kruth, J. (2007) "To Live's to Fly : The Ballad of the Late, Great Townes Van Zandt".
- 52.0 52.1 52.2 52.3 Austin Chronicle article: "For The Sake of the Song".
- Austin Chronicle article: The Battle for Townes Van Zandt's Legacy".
- 55.0 55.1 http://www.theage.com.au/news/music/the-songwriters-songwriter/2005/07/21/1121539089155.html
- A Deeper Blue: The Life & Music of Townes Van Zandt by Robert Earl Hardy; p. 205.
- A Deeper Blue: The Life & Music of Townes Van Zandt by Robert Earl Hardy; p. 197.
- Townes Van Zandt: Be Here to Love Me (Full Film)
- Lomax, John III. (1998). "Townes Van Zandt." In The Encyclopedia of Country Music. Paul Kingsbury, Ed. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 562.
- John Kruth. "To Live's to Fly: The Ballad of the Late, Great Townes Van Zandt". Da Capo Press, 2007. ISBN 0306815532.
- Townes Van Zandt Central - official website
- Townes Van Zandt at AllMusic
- Townes Van Zandt at the Internet Movie Database
- Be Here to Love Me: A Film About Townes Van Zandt - official site
- Townes Van Zandt: The Self-Destructive Hobo Saint by John Kruth, originally appeared in Sing Out! V48#2
- Townes Van Zandt Blue Sky Homepage
- Travels with Townes Van Zandt by Steve Hawley July 2003
- Townes Van Zandt at MusicBrainz
- A Deeper Blue: The Life And Music Of Townes Van Zandt
- Townes Van Zandt on Whole Wheat Radio
AMA Presidents Award