March 7, 2019 would have been Townes Van Zandt‘s 75th birthday had he lived beyond his death in 1997 (at the age of 52). It seems as though appreciation for the great Texas songster has only grown in the two-plus decades since his passing, as new generations of players discover his deep and soulful songwriting catalogue.
Fans of this singular talent will be delighted to learn that March 7 is also the official release day of a “new” album from Van Zandt: Sky Blue (on TVZ/Fat Possum Records) presents a gold mine of 11 previously unreleased voice-and-acoustic-guitar recordings made by the singer-songwriter in 1973. Besides including bare-bones versions of favorites “Pancho and Lefty,” “Rex’s Blues,” “Silver Ships of Andilar,” and “Snake Song,” it also features well-chosen cover songs (such as Tom Paxton’s great “The Last Thing on My Mind”) and two never-before-heard TVZ songs: “Sky Blue” and “All I Need” (which you can hear below). —Blair Jackson