Townes (album)

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Steve Earle Townes.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedMay 12, 2009
GenreAlternative country, Folk, Rock
LabelNew West
ProducerSteve Earle
Steve Earle chronology
Washington Square Serenade
I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive
Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Review scores
Allmusic4/5 stars[2]

Townes is the 13th studio album by alternative country singer Steve Earle, released in 2009. It is an album on which he pays tribute to his friend and mentor, the late singer-songwriter Townes Van Zandt by covering his songs.[3] According to a New West Records press release, "The songs selected for Townes were the ones that meant the most to Earle and the ones he personally connected to (not including selections featured on previous Earle albums). Some of the selections chosen were songs that Earle has played his entire career ("Pancho & Lefty", "Lungs" and "White Freightliner Blues") and others he had to learn specifically for recording.[4]

Notable guest appearances on the album include Tom Morello (of Rage Against the Machine/Audioslave/Street Sweeper Social Club) playing electric guitar on "Lungs", and Earle's wife Allison Moorer singing backing vocals on "Loretta" and "To Live Is to Fly". Earle and his son, Justin Townes Earle trade verses on "Mr. Mudd & Mr. Gold".[4] He is backed by The Bluegrass Dukes on "White Freightliner Blues" and "Delta Momma Blues".

This album won Best Contemporary Folk Album at the 52nd Grammy Awards.[5]

A two disc CD version included a subset of the songs performed solo by Earle. This bonus set was also released on vinyl for Record Store Day.[6]

Track listing[edit]

Disc One: Townes[edit]

All tracks written by Townes Van Zandt (except where noted).

1."Pancho & Lefty" 4:02
2."White Freightliner Blues" 3:28
3."Colorado Girl" 3:35
4."Where I Lead Me" 3:30
5."Lungs" 2:19
6."No Place To Fall" 2:53
7."Loretta" 3:14
8."Brand New Companion" 5:12
9."Rake" 3:23
10."Delta Momma Blues"Van Zandt, Matthew Moore, Caddo Parish Studdard5:14
11."Marie" 4:53
12."Don't Take It Too Bad" 3:12
13."Mr. Mudd & Mr. Gold" 2:18
14."(Quicksilver Daydreams of) Maria" 3:20
15."To Live Is To Fly" 3:40

Disc Two: The Basics[edit]

(included in 2-CD version)

All tracks written by Townes Van Zandt.

1."Pancho And Lefty"4:02
2."Where I Lead Me"3:37
4."No Place To Fall"2:56
6."Brand New Companion"5:12
9."Mr. Mudd And Mr. Gold"2:34
10."(Quicksilver Daydreams Of) Maria"3:15
11."To Live Is To Fly"3:36


Chart performance[edit]

Chart (2009) Peak
U.S. Billboard Top Country Albums 6
U.S. Billboard 200 19
U.S. Billboard Top Independent Albums 2


  1. ^ "Townes by Steve Earle". Retrieved 1 October 2016.
  2. ^ Allmusic review
  3. ^ "Freeing a Mentor From His Mythology". The New York Times. 10 May 2009. Retrieved 1 October 2016.
  4. ^ a b Blackstock, Peter, "Details on Steve Earle's album of Townes Van Zandt covers",, March 9, 2009
  5. ^ Steve Earle, Encyclopædia Britannica
  6. ^ "Record Store Day 2014 > Steve Earle - Townes: The Basics". Record Store Day. Retrieved July 5, 2017.