A Deeper Blue: The Life and Music of Townes Van Zandt is now available as a free e-book at the UNT Digital Library. Use of this item is restricted to the UNT Community.
This is the first serious biography of a man widely considered one of Texas’—and America’s—greatest songwriters. Like Jimmie Rodgers, Woody Guthrie, Robert Johnson, and Hank Williams, Townes Van Zandt was the embodiment of that mythic American figure, the troubled troubadour. A Deeper Blue traces Van Zandt’s background as the scion of a prominent Texas family; his troubled early years and his transformation from promising pre-law student to wandering folk singer; his life on the road and the demons that pursued and were pursued by him; the women who loved and inspired him; and the brilliance and enduring beauty of his songs, which are explored in depth.
The author draws on eight years’ extensive research and interviews with Townes’ family and closest friends and colleagues. He looks beyond the legend and paints a colorful portrait of a complex man who embraced the darkness of demons and myth as well as the light of deep compassion and humanity, all “for the sake of the song.”
“This is an account of a period of time in music history as well as of one man’s struggle with his own life, a struggle that uses the creative process as a way to salvation.”—Kathleen Hudson, author of Telling Stories, Writing Songs and Executive Director, Texas Heritage Music Foundation
“The author talked to many, many people who knew Townes. His work offers a wealth of anecdotes and information.”—Louis Black, editor, Austin Chronicle and executive producer of Be Here to Love Me: A Film About Townes Van Zandt
“Hardy’s sparkling biography of the tragic, magic life of Townes Van Zandt is a must-read for anyone who loves music or likes to raise hell. A Deeper Blue demonstrates why Van Zandt has become Texas’ version of Mozart, Van Gogh, and Hank Williams all rolled up into one brilliant and beautiful burrito.”—Kinky Friedman
“Hardy delineates the musician’s chaotic life in honest, often dramatic detail, but always brings the focus back to Van Zandt’s music and the classic songs he penned. . . . Steering through the myths and legends, the author depicts a troubled individual and gifted artist who inspired many singers and songwriters in the alternative country scene.”—Billboard.com
“Honest, unbiased look at the troubled career and existence of one of America’s greatest songwriters.”—Kirkus Reviews
“A Deeper Blue gives fascinating insight into what inspired this sweet-singing, tortured genius and what inevitably brought him down. Save a tear for Townes. You’ll need it.”—Joe Ely
For more information about the author and his book, please visit