Days Up and Down They Come: Townes Van Zandt and the Search for the Meaning of Life and Death
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Texas has had a long standing tradition of excellent songwriting, and has been known to produce outstanding songwriters in each generation. Perhaps no time was filled with more prolific Texas songwriters than the late 1970’s in which artists such as Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings dominated the country music scene. However, no songwriter from that era is as highly regarded in folklore and legend as the portentous Townes Van Zandt. Despite a long struggle with alcohol and drugs, Van Zandt's songwriting abilities have been unrivaled in music. Each of his songs have a literary quality that allows them to tap into otherworldly truths. Through study of his life and music, I have attempted to find out what Van Zandt has to say about what it means to live and die, topics on which he frequently writes. The music of Van Zandt gives an interesting look on the meaning of life, death, and sorrow given from the perspective of a true artist and poet.