Vinyl Vlog 479

Vinyl Vlog 479

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Sunday, 07 February 2021
COLUMN

Our Mother the Mountain
50th Anniversary Edition
Townes Van Zandt

There comes a time in a punk rocker’s life where they have to go back to where it all came from and really branch out. And really, that’s what good punk rock does: it broadens our horizons. For a while, punks were really getting in touch with their folk side. That has since passed, but for aging punks, the midlife crisis music discovery seems to be country. You start with basics like Wilco, and next think you know, you’re listening to Kurt Vile. Who knows what the future holds?

Johnny Cash is the obvious country music to discover, but at this point, those old songs are downright pop and ubiquitous. Branching out led me to obvious destinations like Dolly Parton (who I love) and Willie Nelson (who I’m still figuring out). Even more obvious would be John Prine, who is getting his due attention probably because he left us last year. But Townes van Zandt seems to be a revelation of sorts.

It’s hard to figure out where to start with such an underrated artist with such a large catalog, but if Our Mother the Mountain is any indication, I have a lot of work to do. Don’t we all?

Our Mother the Mountain, to novice ears like mine, sounds like pure and distilled country music. It’s stripped down, and powerful, and transports the listener to a place we’ve only seen in movies of the old west, with wide open plains, chilly nights by the campfire, and hard living. Our Mother the Mountain is full of mesmerizing songs about nature, love, struggles, and the beauty of life. Van Zandt’s vocals are pitch perfect and jangly and bring a sincerity to these stories that elevates their weight. It’s all in there for what you’d want in your music.

Fat Possum has repressed this record and done one hell of a job on it. Pressed on 180 gram vinyl with artwork printed on heavy cardstock. This 50th edition also includes a tip-on jacket (that little paper slip that goes around) and is every bit as elegant as the record itself.

The songs on Our Mother the Mountain sound so simple and straightforward that they’re an obvious revelation. You’ll recognize their compositions easily, and right after you’ll realize this is powerful stuff.

Get it from Fat Possum

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