Picks and Pans Review: The Highway Kind

updated 08/11/1997 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 08/11/1997 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Townes Van Zandt

The troubled and very talented singer Townes Van Zandt died at age 52 on Jan. 1 of an apparent heart attack, shortly after completing this often harrowing album. The Highway Kind is in some ways almost unlistenable, and in others, near great. In Van Zandt's shockingly intimate versions of such country classics as "Wreck on the Highway," you can almost smell the whiskey, feel the pain. And in "My Proud Mountains," a song written half a lifetime ago, you can definitely sense the loss—Van Zandt's and ours—and it is considerable. (Sugar Hill)

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