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Guy Clark

Guy Clark doesn't just write songs, he crafts them with the kind of hands-on care and respect that a master carpenter (a favorite image of his) would have when faced with a stack of rare hardwood. Clark works slowly and with strict attention to detail -- his output has been sparse since he first signed to RCA in the early '70s -- but he has produced an impressive collection of timeless gems, leaving very little waste behind. His albums have never met much commercial success, but the emotional level of his work consistently transcends sales figures and musical genres. He remains the kind of songwriter whom young artists study and seasoned writers (and listeners) admire.

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 harked 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.

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.

His eighth album, Dublin Blues, came out in 1995, and among its finely crafted moments is a rereading 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. The year 2011 found Clark releasing Songs and Stories (recorded live at the Belcourt Theatre in Nashville), an intimate recap of his 40 years as a singer, songwriter, and storyteller. Clark's wife Susanna passed in 2012. A year later in 2013, Clark's first new studio album in four years, My Favorite Picture of You, was released, an intimate set of songs showing that Clark at the age of 71 was still a master songwriter, as good and as elegantly moving as ever. ~ Kurt Wolff & Steve Leggett, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

I've been in love with Guy and his music since the 70's. The evocative, meaningful lyrics and haunting melodies are the BEST out there, and always have been. It's just so sad now to think of him without Susanna. What a love story they are.
He gets to the heart of the song. No overdubbed crap to get in the way of the song.
Mostly, this style of music doesn't do a lot for this old jazzer, but Mr. Clark is the amazingly great exception to that. You can just step into the story when Guy is singing it.
The way he plays is simply amazing. Great guitar player, glad I stumbled across this. Guy Clark for President!!
I dig guy however I find him a bit overrated In a lot of ways, but he is still the man, good stuff!!!
Guy Clark john prine Steve Goodman what if
mgmdvm
I was turned on to Guy Clark in the early 70s from a Jerry Jeff Walker cover of Desperados Waiting for a Train. At the same time I had a live music bar in Ames,Iowa, and one of the bands did a cover of L.A. Freeway. I was hooked!!! His songs continue to be thoughtful, poignant, sometimes funny, and always excellent.
I always thought that the lyrics referred to the Texas Chili Parlor in Austin, TX. It has a mighty fine bar. Where did you see lyrics that say Chilly?
heidel5
Why do the lyrics to Dublin say Chilly parlor bar? It's a CHILI ParLOR!! like the stuff you eat.
Guy Clark is one of the best!
colinusa2
Magnolia wind was my choice for our first dance when my wife and I got married.
I love Guy Clark music ... To listen to and cover at my Australian gigs ... Sadly few know about him here but I'm having fun educating them as to what real country music is
Guy Clark is the Earnest Hemingway of Texas songwriters.
I have to admit that I missed guy the first time around. I can't believe just discovered him the past year. Real music from real people.
went to see Jerry Jeff & Guy in NYC back in the mid 70's.I was the only one who knew anything about Guy most had come to see Jerry jeff.Jerry Jeff was so drunk that he only got thru 6 songs and left.Guy blew everyone away and saved the evening.Mr Walker you owe me!I went there a Jerry Jeff fan and left a Guy Clark fan.Thanks Guy!
BOY DOES THIS AND SHOOTER SOUND SIMILAR
hearstadam
Certain artists come up with the most profound way to express what we all feel, guy Clark is definitely one of them. He is right up there with Kristofferso n , and waylon
Buy the album cheepo.
betkorn597
can I choose an entire albulm to play in sequence?
Love this man, his lyrics, his great mandolin and guitar, especially his grace and his knack for creating an essence of deep feelings. Thanks Guy... Also got a great sense of humor you can only get from being a Texan...
jggreco
ain't no money in poetry
that's what sets the poet free
- Cold Dog Soup.

Keep on keepin' on Guy
ehclwry
So thrilled to know about songwriter Guy Clark...i've got him marked for more...i'm a lyric lover and to know he's the one who wrote songs that i love for the story telll only makes me more curious...th a n k s Guy...i count you among my greats! ...take care
Another great songwriter from the great state of Texas!
My friend Craig was showing me his new smart phone and was proud of how you could just shout a command at it and it would perform an internet search. To demonstrate, he says into the phone, GUY CLARK! and the phone does its search and comes up with a list of.. gay clubs.
The Guitar is a work so powerful, so spooky scary that I am left with little to say except I want to hear more.
mschilperoot
sounds like 'sweet jane'
Awesome
jcb0021
Out in the parkin lot....Stuff that works...Than k s Guy
I like it but ...... Charlie Daniels either stole the song or wrote it?
mtheroux
LA Freeway came outta his hads as I was packing to leave the City of Angeles; game me strength to split. Thanks again, Guy!
I adore Guy Clark. Saw him live in a little club called Enoch's in Shreveport a long time ago; one of the best shows I've ever ever seen.
jensen.sophi e
Didn't his wife, Susannah, write "Come From the Heart"?
one of the great ones.
C'mon Jack the son of a b**ch is coming. Great
folger369
This is what I love about Pandora, one artist I love leads to another I never heard of and I fall in love again. Lots to love with this guy!
jhmcg1
Seems you learn alot from his songs. Now pass the Jim Beam.
I recently included Guy Clarks "The Guitar". It is one of those perfect songs lyrically. If you haven't heard it it's worth finding. I put that tune in the same catagory with Levon Helm's "The Train Robbery", Jack Benedict's "The Sirens", and the Tom Rush version of "Desperados Waiting for a Train". Signature songs for the player one and all.
tomthefox
Jim, I've heard of folks doing various things to music, but pooping? Oh well, that saysa lot more about you than it does the music of Guy Clark! Oh well......ha p p y pooping!
guy clark and a bottle of whiskey!!!!
Townes Van Zandt, Steve Earle, & Guy Clark!!!! That all you need.
If Guy wrote it, listen to it! It will alter your outlook and enrich your soul!
jimlake220
I've watched Verlon join Guy 3 times now...what a delightful evening!!! A combo of great music and fun.
i like to poop to his old stuff
Guy is a great artist I realy enjoy his masterpieces .
cindylj
Verlon Thompson should be added to this list. He has collaborated with Guy Clark for years.
yenney88
i can not believe someone put guy clark and taylor swift in the same sentence, that was a joke right??
Guy Clark is one of the greatest song writers still around. Down home truth with good melodies. I own most of his albums and can't wait til the next one.
slapshot1894
First time I've heard him. Won't be the last.
Texas singer songwriters are the best in the world. Guy Clark is one of the best in the lot. Fine live performer.
Taylor Swift is on her way. You may have to eat those words,Mechan i c , or what you name is. She will not be forgotten.
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