At first blush, Townesan album of Townes Van Zandt covers from Steve Earleseems fairly obvious. After all, Earlethe outlaw roots rocker turned pinko folkielearned the art of songwriting directly from the enigmatic Texas icon. But just as Dylan wound up sounding nothing like Woody Guthrie, Earle wound up sounding nothing like his mentor. Van Zandts words were expressions of the soul that took the form of country-folk poetry that was both wistful and devastating. Earles material, on the other hand, is less poetically sensitive and more tell-it-like-it-is blunt. Suitably, his delivery is like that of a barrel-chested attack dog, which is what makes his covering of Van Zandt's songs trickier than youd think. But Earles brawny vocals and thick-thumbed guitar actually add something to Van Zandts songs...an oomph thats akin to being punched in the chest. Townes is Earles way of saying: This guy was the greatest songwriter on the planet. If you arent convinced yet, then wake the fuck up!
Mon., May 11, 6 p.m., 2009