When he was recovering from his band’s horrific bus crash in 2012, Baroness frontman John Baizley had to relearn how to play guitar, and he claims that he did so by playing along with the music of Townes Van Zandt, the great country-folk singer-songwriter who died in 1997. At last year’s SXSW, Baizley returned to the stage by playing a solo-acoustic set of Van Zandt covers. And on a new Van Zandt tribute album, Baizley and a crew of his fellow badasses will take on the man’s songs.
Fortuitously enough, Neurosis co-leaders Scott Kelly and Steve Von Till put together a Van Zandt tribute album called Songs Of Town Van Zandt in 2012. And the forthcoming sequel Songs Of Town Van Zandt Vol. II has Baizley on three songs, and it also features people like YOB’s Mike Scheidt, Windhand’s Dorthia Cottrell, and USX’s Nate Hall. Below, listen to Baizley and singer Katie Jones taking on Van Zandt’s beyond-classic 1972 lament “If I Needed You.” There’s not a ton of evidence that this is a metal dude playing the song, and it’s obviously no improvement on the original, but it’s still fascinating hearing one of metal’s most durable and ambitious asskickers sounding so tender. We’ve also got te album’s tracklist below.
01 Mike Scheidt – “To Live Is To Fly”
02 Nate Hall – “Pancho & Lefty”
03 John Baizley & Katie Jones – “St. John The Gambler”
04 Mike Scheidt – Rake”
05 Nate Hall & Stevie Floyd – “Waitin’ Around To Die”
06 John Baizley & Katie Jones – For The Sake Of The Song”
07 Mike Scheidt – Highway Kind”
08 Nate Hall & Dorthia Cottrell – “Our Mother The Mountain”
09 John Baizley & Katie Jones – “If I Needed You”
Songs Of Townes Van Zandt Vol. II is out 3/11 on Neurot Recordings.