Heartworn Highways

Heartworn Highways (Hacktone)

SXSW Records

Heartworn Highways

(Hacktone)

In 1976, producer Graham Leader and director James Szalapski documented the outlaw songwriter scene that extended from Austin and Nashville. Included were then relative unknowns Steve Earle, Rodney Crowell, and John Hiatt, plus their musical mentors Townes Van Zandt and Guy Clark. Born was Heartworn Highways, a cult classic film among fans of the genre. While not a literal soundtrack, this collection – marking 30 years since the film's theatrical release – was compiled from recordings made during production, and it captures the essence of Heartworn Highways splendidly. Beyond including the first recordings of Earle, Crowell, and Hiatt, solo performances by Steve Young and David Allan Coe are matched with rare versions of "L.A. Freeway," "Desperadoes Waiting for a Train," "Pancho and Lefty," and "Waitin' Round to Die." The real treasure is the four songs that end the disc, a kitchen-table song swap between Young, Earle, and Crowell from Christmas Eve at Guy Clark's house, which ends with a whiskey bent "Silent Night." Seek this out not only for its unique performances, but also for its unusual warmth and exceptional intimacy. (Rodney Crowell: Friday, March 17, 12mid @ Parish)

***.5

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