March 6, 2012

one with the birds

Last night I watched the Townes Van Zandt documentary Be Here To Love Me for the first time, after having it sit by my TV for far too many months now. After two bands coming through here in the last few days both put it on within minutes of arriving (and I was too busy flitting around to sit), I decided I needed to devote some time. I am so glad I did. My insides feel like they’ve been soaked in this vinegary sadness.

There’s a deeply affecting part of the movie where Townes’ voice is heard talking about a song he wants to write that’s just all about birds. He doesn’t sound to be in very good shape, although his spirits are high, and the thought of avian lightness seems to cheer him. “Let me tell you about the other one I’m gonna write; boy, my hand doesn’t work fast enough,” he tells his road manager. “There’s gonna be nothing, nothing in it but names of birds. It’s gonna start off with bluebird, and then something else, another bird, another bird, another bird …verse. Maybe a bridge. Nothing but birds.”

One With The Birds – Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy

Then this morning, this Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy song came on my shuffle, out of the thousands. It sounded to me like Will Oldham did almost exactly what Townes wanted, what with his lyrics of robins, doves, lovebirds, bobwhite, whippoorwill, seagulls, and hawks. I can’t find any direct connection between the two, but in my mind, it is a perfect bookend. Or I’d like to think it is.

“When we hide our feelings we may as well fly away”

After watching the biopic, I also decided to do some research into Townes’ Colorado connections. I’m now soliciting partners in crime for a TVZ roadtrip.

[amazing, unsettling bird art via autistic savant Gregory Blackstock]


  • Heather,
    Keep up your great posts, I come everyday
    to your site. Live in Chicago. Still trying
    to score a ticket to tomorrow night’s Head and The Heart show at the Vic in Chicago, which you introduced me to. Again, love your tastes, then again they run so similar to mine.

    best regards,

    Lloyd Perlow — March 7, 2012 @ 8:22 am

  • Have you heard David Gray’s cover of this one? …it’s spellbounding

    Avi — March 12, 2012 @ 5:55 am

  • yes! that’s actually what first reminded me of that connection for this post. so piercing.

    browneheather — March 12, 2012 @ 10:19 pm

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Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

Mp3s are for sampling purposes, kinda like when they give you the cheese cube at Costco, knowing that you'll often go home with having bought the whole 7 lb. spiced Brie log. They are left up for a limited time. If you LIKE the music, go and support these artists, buy their schwag, go to their concerts, purchase their CDs/records and tell all your friends. Rock on.

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