First Merle, then Prince and now comes the news that Guy Clark is gone, too.
Clark was a songwriter’s songwriter, one of those funny, literate, hardboiled, authentic masters who showed the way to so many others. It didn’t hurt that he was a good guitar player with an affecting, whiskey-soaked voice.
I didn’t start listening to Clark until about 15 years ago, and I came at him backward, through listening to Steve Earle and then turning to Clark, who was a mentor to Earle. Clark played at the Texas-heavy 2011 edition of the Red Ants Pants Music Festival in White Sulphur Springs. I can’t remember where I was, but I know I couldn’t make the festival that year. I now regret that even more.
Here’s a good article on Clark from Texas Monthly, though the headline, “He Ain’t Going Nowhere,” doesn’t quite fit anymore. And here’s a quote from the article: “Bob Dylan lists Guy among his handful of favorite songwriters, and most of Nashville does too.”
On top of all that, Clark was just one hell of a character. Here’s a clip from “Be There to Love Me,” a documentary about Townes Van Zandt, another Texas troubadour. It consists of three clips of Clark talking about Van Zandt. Make sure you watch the last one. It’s priceless.
This piece first appeared at Last Best News.