SINCE he released his first album in , and especially since his death in , the country songwriter Townes Van Zandt has been a prototypical cult figure. Though his songs have been recorded by the likes of Emmylou Harris, Willie Nelson and the Cowboy Junkies, Van Zandt never sold many records himself, and he battled addiction and depression for decades. His songs, at once lyrical and unsentimental, depicted love, and life itself, as experiences to be enjoyed free from all inevitably disappointed expectations.
On Jan. Having lived multiple lives worth of suffering, making travel companions out of addiction, penury and destitution, the perennially hurting folk bard left the world at the age of It was practically a self-fulfilling prophecy. It was the same age Van Zandt's father had died of a heart attack in Unlike the enchanting sorrow that colored the scenes in his illustrative verse, however, the sight of his passing would be an unsightly and disturbing one. After spending the week of Christmas immobile due to an untreated femoral neck fracture from collapsing at his home, Townes attempted to return to the studio while in a wheelchair, but the sessions were truncated by excessive intoxication and manic outbursts.
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His musical style has often been described as melancholy and features rich, poetic lyrics. During his early years, Van Zandt was respected for his guitar playing and fingerpicking ability. In , six years after Emmylou Harris had first popularized it, Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard covered his song " Pancho and Lefty ", reaching number one on the Billboard country music chart. For much of the s, he lived in a simple shack without electricity or a telephone. He suffered from a series of drug addictions,  alcoholism ,  and was given a psychiatric diagnosis of bipolar disorder. When he was young, the now-discredited insulin shock therapy erased much of his long-term memory. Van Zandt died on New Years Day from cardiac arrythmia caused by health problems stemming from years of substance abuse.
He had no idea what he was getting himself into. We did things differently this time around, especially now with some maturity and perspective. I was with him before I even started college and the past year was especially tough as I am getting more and more busy. Not all of us are able to achieve that ideal but we are to strive for it. You are atheist and that's not changing. About the time I was ready to return for my doctorate a chronic illness hit. I've luckily broken down my GF's defenses about the church a little bit. I knew a woman who married a man who converted to the church and she spent the rest of their married life telling him he was not good enough. This is something I see on an everyday basis. And unless they are total cretins your ward members will love him too.