Guy Clark • His craggy, wistful story-songs, and plain-spoken delivery are also indicative of his persona. Inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Foundation’s Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2004, Clark was honored with the Americana Music Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award for Songwriting in 2005. The following year, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum named Guy Clark as its prestigious 2006 Artist-In-Residence. His CD Workbench Songs (2006), released to universal critical acclaim and the delight of his worshipful fans, was nominated for the 2007 Grammy award as Best Contemporary Folk/Americana Album.
"He remains a national treasure and folk icon, crafting masterful, poignant melodies and insightful lyrics. Tough, bare-boned and dryly sentimental, his beautiful songs reflect… an old-fashioned masculinity that emphasize honesty… and integrity."
In a recent interview with the Huffington Post, Bob Dylan mentions Guy Clark as one of his favorite songwriters. That is no surprise to anyone familiar with the master songwriter and legendary artist. Songwriting legend Guy Clark doesn’t merely compose songs; he projects images and characters with the kind of hands-on care and respect of a literary master. Clark works slowly and with strict attention to detail, and has produced an impressive collection of timeless gems, leaving very little waste behind. The emotional level of his work, as well as the admiration and esteem of his peers, consistently transcends sales figures and musical genres. Using everyday language to construct extraordinary songs for more than 35 years, Clark continues to be the type of songwriter whom young artists study and seasoned writers, as well discriminating listeners, revere.
When Guy Clark discusses the art and craft of songwriting, people listen. He has, after all, been writing songs of uncommon quality for nearly four decades, songs like “L.A. Freeway,” “Desperados Waiting For A Train,” “The Randall Knife,” and “Texas, 1947. Clark was born in the West Texas town of Monahans, where he was raised mostly by his grandmother (his mother worked and his father was in the Army), who ran the town hotel. One of her residents was an oil well driller who would later end up the subject of one of Clark’s most moving and stunningly beautiful songs, "Desperados Waiting for a Train." Many of Clark’s songs, in fact, have centered around his days growing up in West Texas, including "Texas 1947" (from his debut album) and the 1992 song "Boats to Build," which hearkened back to a summer job he once had as a teenager on the Gulf Coast.
"The first songs Clark learned were mostly in Spanish. Later, when he moved to Houston and began working the folk music circuit, he met fellow songwriter Townes Van Zandt (the two often toured together until Van Zandt’s death in 1997) and blues singers Lightnin’ Hopkins and Mance Lipscomb. It was here that Clark began playing and writing his sturdy brand of folk- and blues-influenced country music."
In the late ’60s, Clark moved to California, living first in San Francisco (where he met and married his wife Susanna, a painter and songwriter) and then in Los Angeles, where he worked in the Dopyera brothers’ Dobro factory. Tiring quickly of Southern California (sentiments he expressed in another of his classics, "L.A. Freeway"), he and Susanna packed up and headed for Nashville in 1971, where he picked up work as a writer with publishing companies and, eventually, a recording contract with RCA. Clark’s first album, Old No. 1, came out in 1975, a few years after Jerry Jeff Walker had turned "L.A. Freeway" into a minor hit. By this time Clark was considered one of the most promising young writers in country music, and while he didn’t live in Texas anymore, the state’s influence still ran thick in his blood.
He is an accomplished luthier and often plays his own guitars. He achieved success as a songwriter with Jerry Jeff Walker’s recordings of "L.A. Freeway" and "Desperados Waiting For A Train". Artists such as Johnny Cash, David Allan Coe, Vince Gill, Ricky Skaggs, Steve Wariner, Brad Paisley, Alan Jackson, Rodney Crowell and The Highwaymen have recorded Clark’s songs.
Clark recorded one more album for RCA, Texas Cookin’, in 1976 before switching to Warner Bros. for his next three albums, released between 1978 and 1983. Three of his songs from these albums cracked the Top 100. By the mid-’80s, however, a number of his songs had been made into hits by country stars such as Johnny Cash, David Allan Coe, Ricky Skaggs (who took "Heartbroke" to number one), George Strait, Vince Gill, and the Highwaymen. Clark continued to work as a writer but didn’t record again until 1988′s Old Friends, released by Sugar Hill. He then switched labels once more, this time to Asylum, which released his 1992 album Boats to Build as part of their acclaimed American Explorer series.
"Clark has been a mentor to such other singers as Steve Earle and Rodney Crowell. He organized Earle’s first job as a writer in Nashville. In the 1970s, the Clarks’ home in Nashville was an open house for songwriters and musicians and it features in the video Heartworn Highways, an evocation of the songwriter scene in Nashville at that time."
His eighth album, Dublin Blues, came out in 1995, and among its finely crafted moments is a re-reading of one of his most enduring songs, "Randall Knife," about the death of his father. Cold Dog Soup followed in 1999. Clark released Dark in 2002, followed by Workbench Songs in 2006. The DVD Live from Austin, TX arrived the following year. A much needed survey of Clark’s key songs covering the years 1975 to 1995 called Hindsight 21-20 appeared from Raven Records late in 2007. His 11th studio album, Somedays the Song Writes You, arrived in 2009.
"On Somedays The Song Writes You, The only song on the album that Clark didn’t write is one by his late best friend, Townes Van Zandt. It’s become tradition for Clark to include a Van Zandt composition on each album he records. Interpreting “If I Needed You” is especially meaningful, since he and his wife Susanna were almost certainly the first to hear it, in their own home. “That particular song, Townes was living with Susanna and I. He woke up one morning and played this song and he said he had dreamed it."
WebSite • www.guyclark.com
FaceBook • www.facebook.com/GuyClarkMusic
Twitter • www.twitter.com/GuyClarkKCA
Mailing List • www.guyclark.com/mailinglist.php
Booking • www.facebook.com/KeithCaseAndAssociates, (615) 327-4646
Press • Tamera Saviano, email@example.com
SonicBids • www.artistdata.sonicbids.com/guy-clark
Contact • www.guyclark.com/contact.php
Performances/Tickets • www.guyclark.com/tour.php
Store • www.theconnextion.com/guyclark/guyclark_index.cfm
iTunes • www.itunes.apple.com/us/artist/guy-clark/id193674
Amazon • www.amazon.com/Guy-Clark/e/B000APWAQ2
News/Blog • www.guyclark.com/news.php
WikiPedia • www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guy_Clark
ARTICLES, SOURCES & RELATED LINKS
• This One’s For Him: A Tribute to Guy Clark
• Guy Clark News
• Guy Clark’s recent 70th birthday
• Kenny Chesney’s ‘Whiskey’ Goes Platinum
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