Audio CD | Remastered
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'Heartworn Highways' is your seat at that dinner table, listening in as these troubadours pour earnest confessions through strings and voice. In particular, Guy Clark's naked performances dominate the collection, his plaintive heartache searing through 'LA Freeway' and landing right in your lap on the classic 'Desperadoes Waiting for a Train,' in a stripped-bare version that drills straight to the well of tears at the song's core. Equally moving is the bleak, dusty balladry of Townes Van Zandt on 'Waiting Around To Die,' performed in his wood-paneled kitchen for an audience of two his girlfriend and his blacksmith neighbor. 'It's the first song I ever wrote, by the way,' Van Zandt explains before launching into the haunting tune, which eventually leads his neighbor to tears. Featuring the very first recordings of Steve Earle, John Hiatt, and Rodney Crowell, and stirring whiskey-soaked performances by Clark, Van Zandt, Steve Young, David Allan Coe, and others, 'Heartworn Highways' raises the spirit of true roots music, representing a slice of Americana musical history and a generous tip of the ol' cowboy hat to its pioneers.
This homespun documentary soundtrack celebrates a circle of some of the finest songwriters in progressive country, just as they were starting to come into their own. The intimate informality of the mid-'70s performances finds Guy Clark at the center of that circle of Texans relocated to Nashville, with the then-unknown Rodney Crowell and Steve Earle among his acolytes. All of them sound impossibly, irrepressibly young, though the early songs of Townes Van Zandt (particularly "Waitin' 'Round to Die") already carried the world on their back. Among the highlights are a Christmas Eve party at the Nashville home of Guy and Susannah Clark, where the singalong ranged from his "That Old Time Feeling" to the Crowell-led finale of a spirited "Silent Night." It's fascinating to hear these artists in their formative stages, making music for fun and for each other, in light of what they would become. --Don McLeeseSee all Editorial Reviews
Top customer reviews
This album, much like the film features a stripped down version of the music. Many of these artists released albums with unfortunate 70's and 80's overproduction. What you are getting here is the song as it is. Standout tracks are the Steve Earle gems at the end of the album though everything on this album is amazing.
Although the film was made in 1976, it's not clear why it took over 30 years for these recordings to surface. But thanks to efforts by the label, the album's producer, and sound engineers, a "meticulous audio restoration" was undertaken and the result is an incredible album. It sounds like you are right in the room with these guys, listening to history being made. Not only is this a priceless audio snapshot of great musicians during their formative years, it's also a thrilling listening experience. And it may cause some listeners to redefine what they think of as country music.
This is a hidden treasure chest of gems that is a must have for any country music fan. No bubble-gum-pop-modern-"country"-garbage here, these are singer/songwriter heroes at their finest.