"I don't envision a very long life for myself," Townes Van Zandt admitted before his untimely death in 1997 at age 52. "I think my life will run out before my work does. I've designed it that way."

The singer-songwriter's design comes full-circle with the release of 'I'll Be Here in the Morning: The Songwriting Legacy of Townes Van Zandt,' a collection of short stories that spotlight the significance of Townes' work from the viewpoint of his fellow songwriters. Legends Guy Clark, Rodney Crowell, Kris Kristofferson, Lyle Lovett and Lucinda Williams, among others, paired with author Brian T. Atkinson to provide an intimate look at his extraordinary talent.

Townes also touched the next generation of writers, with rocker Grace Potter, Scott Avett (of the Avett Brothers), Kasey Chambers, Josh Ritter and Jim James (of My Morning Jacket) contributing to the collection. "Townes is a Christ-like figure in Texas," country singer Jack Ingram writes at the book's close. "He is the one. He was writing on another plane."

"Townes' reputation is awesome," says outlaw country pioneer Ray Wylie Hubbard. "The word 'poet' keeps coming to mind. I mean a real poet. When people discover Townes, they're just enlightened. They're instant fans. If it were a perfect world, Townes would be as well known as Bob Dylan."

Townes passed away on New Years Day 1997, after a long battle with addiction. He may be best known for penning 'Pancho and Lefty,' covered by Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard, which became his first Billboard No. 1 country song in 1972. 'If I Needed You,' 'No Place to Fall' and 'To Live Is to Fly' are considered classics by many of his peers.

'I'll Be Here in the Morning: The Songwriting Legacy of Townes Van Zandt' will be available Jan. 1, the 15-year anniversary of Townes' death.