Townes Van Zandt
Sky Blue (Fat Possum)
Reviewed by Rick Weaver, Fri., April 19, 2019
Far from A Far Cry From Dead, that polished product of posthumous overkill from the tail end of the millennium, Sky Blue allows the songs of Townes Van Zandt (1944-1997) to sit and breathe free from distraction or "Squash." Nothing ventured, plenty gained. Space is granted in lieu of overdubs, which elbows out enough sonic space for the gentle complexity of the Fort Worth scion's picking as well as the rise and fall in his lyrics to bloom. From a weary strum to the previously unheard "All I Need" and a plain stab at traditional murder ballad "Hills of Roane County" and the early buds of TVZ staple "Rex's Blues," this spare-room recording captured by Bill Hedgepeth at his home studio in Atlanta, 1973, provides a linear experience focused and breezy enough to avoid the tedium of gratuitous authorized bootleg series (e.g., Bob Dylan). The moral of the story: For the song's sake, leave it alone.