Various Artists : Heartworn Highways

Diverse Records celebrates its first soundtrack style release, with this audiophile vinyl version of the compelling 1976 outlaw Americana documentary by James Szalapski….

It’s Christmas Eve, 1975, and 19-year old Steve Earle is seated at a weather-worn dinner table, surrounded by emptied jugs of wine, spent cigarette butts, and a guitar-wielding pack of honky-tonk misfits that includes Guy Clark, Rodney Crowell, and Steve Young. The fresh-faced Earle leans over and launches into the sweet, backcountry chords of “Mercenary Song.” The room is nearly silent as he plays, save for the occasional clink of wine-filled glasses. Then, slowly, voices around the table rise up at the chorus into a rusty campfire harmony, united in smoke, drink, and song. These would be the first ever recording by Earle and Crowell.

Heartworn Highways is your seat at that dinner table, listening in as these troubadours pour earnest confessions through strings and voice. In particular, Clark’s naked performances dominate the collection, his plaintive heartache searing through “LA Freeway” and landing right in your lap on the classic “Desperadoes Waiting for a Train,”. Equally moving is the bleak, dusty balladry of Townes Van Zandt on “Waiting Around To Die,” performed in his kitchen for an audience of two—his girlfriend and his blacksmith neighbour. Then there’s the growling back-porch groove of Larry Jon Wilson’s “Ohoopee River Bottomland;” the sweet, lost ballad “One For the One” by John Hiatt; and Crowell’s first-ever turn at the mic on “Bluebird Wine,” a song in whose shadow modern country music can only hope to have a foot. Featuring the very first recordings of Earle, Hiatt, and Crowell, and stirring whiskey-soaked performances by Clark, Van Zandt, Young, David Allan Coe, and others, Heartworn Highways raises the spirit of true roots music, representing a slice of Americana musical history and a generous tip of the ol’ cowboy hat to its pioneers.

Producers Michael and David of Hacktone Records worked with the filmmakers to sift through hours of gutbucket performances from these legends-in-training, winding up with a wholly original chronicle of the down-home resilience and earthy song making that conjures those proverbial shivers.


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    Heartworn Highways

    DIV016DLP
    180g Double LP
    14th September 2009

    Side 1
    1 “LA Freeway” Guy Clark
    2 “Ohoopee River Bottomland “Larry Jon Wilson
    3 “That Old Time Feeling” Guy Clark
    4 “Waiting Around To Die” Townes Van Zandt
    5 “I Still Sing The Old Songs” David Allen Coe

    Side 2
    1 “Desperados Waiting For A Train” Guy Clark
    2 “Bluebird Wine” Rodney Crowell
    3 “Alabama Highway” Steve Young
    4 “Pancho And Lefty” Townes Van Zandt
    5 “Texas Cookin'” Guy Clark

    Side 3
    1 “Charlie's Place” Gamble Rogers
    2 “Black Label Blues” Gamble Rogers
    3 “River “ David Allen Coe
    4 “One For The One” John Hiatt
    5 “Darlin' Commit Me” Steve Earle

    Side 4
    1 “Ballad Of Laverne And Captain Flynt” Guy Clark
    2 “I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry” Steve Young
    3 “Mercenary Song” Steve Earle
    4 “Elijah's Church” Steve Earle
    5 “Silent Night” Rodney Crowell, Guy Clark, Steve Young, Steve Earl