On March 4th, the late Townes Van Zandt, along with Lyle Lovett and Robert Earle King, was inducted into the Texas Heritage Songwriters Hall of Fame at Austin City Limits Live at the Moody Theater in downtown Austin. The event was celebrated with performances by Lyle Lovett, Robert Earle King, and Steve Earl, who sang Van Zandt’s songs. Van Zandt’s award was accepted by his son, J.T. Van Zandt.
The writer of such influential songs as “Pancho and Lefty,” “To Live’s to Fly,” “If I Needed You,” and “For the Sake of the Song,” Townes Van Zandt exerted an influence on at least two generations of Texas musicians that belies his relatively brief, deeply troubled life. Van Zandt has influenced millions worldwide in the years since his death, and his impact is growing rapidly."The kinds of songs that Townes was writing in those days were really pieces of literature," Lovett told the Austin American Statesman. "It really was art. That was the standard that was set in those days for the places I used to go and listen, and the places I aspired to play."
If you are interested in the life and music of Townes Van Zandt, check out the Texas A&M Press book, I’ll Be Here in the Morning by Brian T. Atkinson.
Atkinson interviews both well-known musicians and up-and-coming artists to reveal, in the performers’ own words, how their creative careers have been shaped by the life and work of Townes Van Zandt. Kris Kristofferson, Guy Clark, Billy Joe Shaver, Rodney Crowell, Lucinda Williams, and Lovett are just a few of the established musicians who share their impressions of the breathtakingly beautiful tunes and lyrics he created, along with their humorous, poignant, painful, and indelible memories of witnessing Van Zandt’s rise and fall.