Townes Van Zandt
Whoever dubbed George Jones "King of the Broken Hearts" never heard Townes Van Zandt (1944-1997). His haunting verity made him more than what some considered Americana's own Nick Drake -- Van Zandt was a poet with a burning soul. Although he never had a radio hit, many other country music artists found success with songs "Pancho and Lefty" and "If I Needed You." Though he occasionally delved into more upbeat, light-hearted, bluesy numbers, he is best known for lamenting, wind-swept, road-written songs. Van Zandt had a way of making painfully honest lyrics stick to naturally birthed melodies that attached themselves to the heart of any listener with an ounce of humanity.