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Tag: los angeles review of books

Bound Away

Check out this long appreciation of Townes Van Zant by Aretha Sills in the Los Angeles Review of Books:

TVZ: There’s so many good young people and old people, I can’t listen to it all. I end up listening to Muddy Waters and Mozart, Muddy Waters and Mozart. Hank Williams every so often, and Lightnin’ Hopkins. I mean, I listen quite a bit, but mostly I’m playing. Traveling and playing. And when I’m in a car, somebody gives you a tape, you listen to it. That’s one of the best places, but eventually it comes down to the hum of the wheels.

TVZ: But this land is covered with brilliant young and old musicians. What it takes is perseverance, and you have to be lazy. You have to be too lazy to work. When you start, at least, it helps not to have a family, because I started before I had a family. Young men come up to me and say, ‘I’d really like to do what you, how shall I go about it?’ I say, well you get a guitar or a piano (I prefer a guitar because it’s a lot easier to carry than a piano), then you’ve got to blow off security, money, your family, your loved ones, your home, blow it all off and stay with your guitar somewhere under a bridge and learn how to play it. That’s how it goes. That’s what I did. And that discourages a lot of them, ‘cause some of them are like, ‘I have two kids and I work in a gas station. I’m going to save my money and go to Nashville for a week.’ But that ain’t it. And girls, young ladies, occasionally ask me. I say, well first off, you’ve got to cut all your fingernails on your left hand off. And that stops most of them. But it ain’t easy. I mean, it’s not hard; it ain’t easy. It’s killing me, I know that. Something’s killing everybody. Just sometimes I get so tired that I can’t even sleep.

[Photo Credit: Al Clayton]

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