Townes Van Zandt (March 7 1944 – January 1 1997) was a folk music singer-songwriter, performer, and poet.
Born in Fort Worth, Texas, he traveled in his youth around Texas and Colorado. He was the third-great-grandson of Isaac Van Zandt, a prominent leader of the Republic of Texas.
Influential in the sub-genre referred to as Alternative Country, his Texas-grounded impact stretched farther than country. One of his major influences was Texas blues man Lightnin' Hopkins, whose songs were a constant part of his repertoire.
Van Zandt was master of the small, intimate show, where he would weave song and story into an unforgettable evening. Though they never wrote songs together and only occasionally played concerts together, Van Zandt's best friend was fellow Texas songwriting legend Guy Clark. Generally shy and reserved, Van Zandt struggled with 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. His performances featured a dry humor â€” an integr...