Friday, January 25, 2008


My recent post linking to a Townes Van Zandt video got me thinking. I've always been a big fan of not just singer-songwriters, but what I call Storyteller-Songwriters -- people whose songs tell stories -- be they epic or small, they're always human stories.

So who are my favorites? I thought I'd take a shot at listing the ones I've grown to appreciate the most, based on how many of their songs I know, how many of those songs tell stories, and how much ompact those stories have on me. I've come up with a top 7:

7. Townes Van Zandt -- He's new to me, sbut I'm already taking an interest in him, and his song Pancho and Lefty alone puts him on my list. I look forward to getting to know him better.

6. Loretta Lynn -- It's the autobiographical nature of her work that impresses me. Coal Miner's Daughter, by itself, gets her on this list, but it's by no means her only success in this regard.

5. Willie Nelson -- More a Singer-storyteller-songwriter, since as many times as he's written a good story, and as many times as he's composed for others, he's also taken many another musician's work and made it his own.

4. Kris Kristofferson -- another songwriter who can thank others for helping establish his creds, this time in that those others have taken HIS songs and made them famous -- Sunday Morning Coming Down and Me and Bobby McGee come to mind.

3. Johnny Cash -- He'd be higher on the list, but a lot of his best songs were written by others. However, he still has enough of an impact to merit 3rd place.

2 Gordon Lightfoot -- If each person on this list was allowed only one song to be presented for their resume for membership in this list, Lightfoot's The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald would be enough to ensconce him in first place. But that honor, based on the weight of his body of work as well as the quality of each song in question, goes inarguably in my mind to...

1. John Denver -- Country Roads; Grandma's Feather Bed; Rocky Mountain High; Two Ducks... the list goes on and on. Hands down my favorite storyteller-songwriter.

So who are yours?