The best music documentary ever made: Heartworn Highways
For it is just that, the best documentary about music I have ever seen! It looks like a home movie, you feel like you get insight into a world long gone and you feel like looking into a world just for the invited.
It is up on YouTube , so catch it before it gets taken down (or better, buy yourself a copy so you can see it as often as you want).
Heartworn Highways is made by James Szalapski whose vision captured some of the founders of the Outlaw Country and Singer/Songwriter movement in Texas and Tennessee in the last weeks of 1975 and the first weeks of 1976.The film was not released theatrically until 1981.
Highlights for me: The visit to Townes Van Zandt’s caravan and the Christmas party at Guy and Susanna Clark (especially Steve Earle singing Mercenary Song).
Gretchen Peters (born November 14, 1957 in Bronxville, New York) is an American singer and songwriter. She was born in New York and raised in Boulder, Colorado, but moved to Nashville in the late 1980s. There, she found work as a songwriter, composing hits for Martina McBride, Etta James, Trisha Yearwood, Patty Loveless, George Strait, Anne Murray, as well as for rock singers Neil Diamond and co-writing songs with Bryan Adams.
She won the Country Music Association Song Of The Year award for McBride’s “Independence Day” in 1995. She was twice nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Country Song, in 1995 and 1996, and was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Original Song in 2003.
Tribute to Townes Van Zandt
Austin City Limits
Recorded in December 7, 1997.
Townes Van Zandt, was an American singer songwriter. He is widely held in high regard for his poetic, often heroically sad songs. In 1983, six years after Emmylou Harris had first popularized it, Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard covered his song “Pancho and Lefty”, scoring a number one hit on the Billboard country music charts. Much of his life was spent touring various dive bars, often living in cheap motel rooms and backwoods cabins. For much of the 1970s, he lived in a simple shack without electricity or a phone.
A singular talent who passed almost unnoticed during his brief lifetime, Nick Drake produced several albums of chilling, somber beauty. With hindsight, these have come to be recognized as peak achievements of both the British folk-rock scene and the entire rock singer/songwriter genre.
~Richie Unterberger (allmusic.com)
I never felt magic crazy as this
I never saw moons knew the meaning of the sea
I never held emotion in the palm of my hand
Or felt sweet breezes in the top of a tree
But now you’re here
Brighten my northern sky.
Sing Me Back Home is the fifth studio album by singer and songwriter Merle Haggard, released in 1968 on Capitol Records.
“Sing Me Back Home follows the blueprint of Merle Haggard’s first three albums, balancing a hit single with album tracks and a couple of covers, but there is a difference. Where the previous album Branded Man was a transitional album, hinting that Haggard’s talents were deepening substantially, Sing Me Back Home is the result of the flowering of his talent.”
– Thomas Erlewine (allmusic)
Merle Haggard appeared on Austin City Limits nine times over the course of his legendary career. Here’s “Sing Me Back Home” from his appearance in 1978: