Heartworn Highways | Chicago Reader

Heartworn Highways

Shot in 1975 but not released until 1981, this documentary by James Szalapski captures the nascent stages of a poetic country music played by Texas outsiders like Guy Clark, Steve Young, Townes Van Zandt, and a young Steve Earle. Szalapski was privy to some highly intimate performances—a stunning rendition of “Waiting Around to Die” in Van Zandt's spartan home, a Christmas Eve jam session at Clark's place. Performance footage by some of the era's bigger stars, including Charlie Daniels and David Allen Coe, seems out of place now, but all the artists surveyed share a fondness for the bottle and a distaste for the machinations of Nashville.

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