Townes Van Zandt - Texas Rain

Townes Van Zandt
Texas Rain


First Appeared in The Music Box, April 2002, Volume 9, #4

Written by John Metzger


Good as it is, the music performed by most Texas singer/songwriters isnít meant for everyone. But thatís never stopped the music business from trying to take it to a mass audience. Such is the case with Townes Van Zandtís posthumously released Texas Rain. Originally recorded in the early í90s, under the guidance of producer Kevin Eggers, the album pairs up Van Zandt for a series of duets with everyone from Emmylou Harris to Doug Sahm, Willie Nelson to Kathy Mattea. As one might expect, sometimes it works ó as in the Johnny Cash-like gallop through If I Needed You and the Dire Straits-ish take of Waiting Around to Die ó but mostly it doesnít.

The problem lies in the overly glossy production given to many of the tracks. True, that is often how an artist reaches a wider audience. But for Van Zandt, whose lyrics wallow in the supreme misery and heartache of life, the arrangements remove a large part of the sting from his words. As a result, long-time fans might struggle to find much on Texas Rain worth savoring. Then again, if this is what it takes to get Van Zandt some attention, so be it. The album still beats the hell out of the pop artists that have taken over Nashville in recent years. starstarstar

Texas Rain is available from Barnes & Noble.
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!


Copyright © 2002 The Music Box