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Steve Earle’s 2009 album Townes, served as his highly anticipated follow up to the Grammy Award winning album Washington Square Serenade. The 15-song set is comprised of songs written by Earle’s friend and mentor, the late singer-songwriter, Townes Van Zandt. “Townes Van Zandt is the best songwriter in the whole world and I’ll stand on Bob Dylan’s coffee table in my cowboy boots and say that,” Earle proclaimed. The songs selected for Townes were the ones that meant the most to Earle and the ones he personally connected to. Some of the selections chosen were songs that Earle has played his entire career (“Pancho and Lefty,” “Lungs,” “White Freightliner Blues”). He learned the song “(Quicksilver Daydreams of) Maria” directly from Van Zandt. Earle taught himself “Marie and Rake” specifically for making this record. Earle recorded the New York sessions solo and then added the other instruments later on in order to preserve the spirit of Van Zandt’s original solo performances to the best of his recollection. The track “Lungs,” was produced and mixed by the Dust Brothers’ John King and features Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine/The Nightwatchman on electric guitar.