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.