8 Townes Van Zandt Quotes That Will Make You Rethink the Songwriter’s Career

Born March 7, 1944, Townes Van Zandt is your favorite songwriter’s favorite songwriter.

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The artist, who died young at just 52 years old, in 1997, was known for seminal songs like “Pancho and Lefty” and “To Live Is to Fly.” He inspired country and Americana artists like Steve Earle, who named his now-late son Justin Townes Earle after his idol.

But sadly, Van Zandt’s life was cut short due to his addiction to drugs and alcohol. Nevertheless, his songs remain in the canon and have been covered by countless artists, including Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Lyle Lovett, Merle Haggard, Norah Jones, Emmylou Harris, Counting Crows, See Earle and many more.

Here, we wanted to dive into a few quotes from Van Zandt outside of his song lyrics, some thoughts of his that will make you both think about the artist and appreciate him that much more. So, without further ado, here are eight quotes from the songwriter that will make you rethink your relationship with him.

1. “I don’t envision a very long life for myself. I think my life will run out before my work does. I’ve designed it that way.”

2. “I’m the mold that grunge was grown in.”

3. “I’d like to write some songs that are so good that nobody understands them. Not even myself.”

4. “I don’t think you can ever do your best. Doing your best is a process of trying to do your best.”

5. “I don’t know why I write really depressing songs. I’m a kind of melancholy guy, I suppose. But I figure I’m about normal.”

6. “What I do is between me and the Lord, to examine and possibly alter the state of grace in which I live, and thereby the state of grace of anybody who listens.”

7. “Humans can’t live in the present as animals do; they just live in the present. But humans are always thinking about the future or the past.”

8. “I was just tapped on the shoulder from above and told to write these songs, as opposed to wanting to be a success in the music business.’

(Photo by Tom Hill/Getty Images)

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