Michael Weston King

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Riding the Range

Review from AllMusic.com:

This 20-track compilation falls into the category of a “tribute” album to the renowned singer/songwriter Townes Van Zandt, rather than being a compilation of the most famous or interesting interpretations of Van Zandt compositions that have appeared since his career began in the 1960s. As is the case with many such tribute albums, many, and likely most, of the names won’t be familiar to the average listener or even Van Zandt fan. Exceptions might be Shane MacGowan (who does “Waitin’ Round to Die” with Mighty Stef), Stan Ridgway and Peter Case (who perform “If I Was Washington” as a duo), Johnny Dowd (who does “No Place to Fall” with Billy Coté), and the late Van Zandt himself (who sings the Michael Weston King composition “Riding the Range” with the Calvins). It might not sound too appealing on paper, but as heretical as it might be to state this, some people not schooled in Van Zandt‘s own work might find it in some senses more listenable than Van Zandt‘s own recordings. That’s not to say that these are superior to (or a match for) the originals, but they in some way have more sonic variety than the average Van Zandt record, particularly in the vocal department. The arrangements and the largely male-sung interpretations are straightforward, no-frills, competent, respectful, and largely faithful to the songwriter’s dark country-folk vibe, although some occasional harder rocking touches sound inappropriate. Ninety-nine pence from the sale of every copy goes to the QE2 Activity Centre, which provides activities for people with disabilities.

More information at AllMusic.com.