|Birth name||Guy Charles Clark|
|Born||November 6, 1941|
Monahans, Texas, U.S.
|Died||May 17, 2016 (aged 74)|
Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.
|Genres||Country, Texas country, outlaw country, folk, Americana|
|Occupation(s)||Musician, singer-songwriter, producer|
|Labels||RCA, Warner, Sugar Hill, Elektra, Dualtone|
|Associated acts||Townes Van Zandt, Jerry Jeff Walker, Kris Kristofferson, Waylon Jennings, Emmylou Harris, Verlon Thompson, Steve Earle|
Guy Charles Clark (November 6, 1941 – May 17, 2016) was an American folk and country singer-songwriter and luthier. He released more than 20 albums, and his songs have been recorded by other artists, including Jerry Jeff Walker, Jimmy Buffett, Kathy Mattea, Lyle Lovett, Ricky Skaggs, Steve Wariner, Emmylou Harris, Rodney Crowell, Steve Earle, Johnny Cash, and Willie Nelson. He won the 2014 Grammy Award for Best Folk Album: My Favorite Picture of You.
Clark was born in Monahans, Texas. His family moved to Rockport, Texas in 1954. After he graduated from high school in 1960, Guy spent almost a decade living in Houston as part of the folk music revival in that city. His wife Susanna Clark and he eventually settled in Nashville, where he helped create the Americana music genre. His songs "L.A. Freeway" and "Desperados Waiting for a Train" helped launch his career and were covered by numerous performers, including Steve Earle and Brian Joens. On his passing, the New York Times described him as "a king of the Texas troubadours", declaring his body of work "as indelible as that of anyone working in the Americana idiom in the last decades of the 20th century".
Clark had 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 film Heartworn Highways, an evocation of the songwriter scene in Nashville at that time.
Numerous artists have charted with Clark-penned tunes. "The Last Gunfighter Ballad" was the title song of Johnny Cash's 1977 studio album. In 1982, Bobby Bare made it to the Country Top 20 with Clark's "New Cut Road". That same year, bluegrass leader Ricky Skaggs hit number one with Clark's "Heartbroke", a song that permanently established his reputation as an ingenious songwriter. Among the many others who have covered Clark's songs are Vince Gill, who took "Oklahoma Borderline" to the Top 10 in 1985; The Highwaymen, who introduced "Desperados Waiting for a Train" to a new generation that same year; John Conlee, whose interpretation of "The Carpenter" rode into the Top 10 in 1987; and John Denver, who recorded Clark's "Homegrown Tomatoes" in 1988. Clark is frequently referred to as the Fifth Highwayman.
Steve Wariner took his cover of Clark's "Baby I'm Yours" to number one in 1988; Asleep at the Wheel charted with Clark's "Blowin' Like a Bandit" the same year. Crowell was Clark's co-writer on "She's Crazy for Leavin'", which in 1989 became the third of five straight number-one hits for Crowell. Brad Paisley and Alan Jackson covered Clark's "Out in the Parkin' Lot", co-written with Darrell Scott, on Paisley's Time Well Wasted CD. Jimmy Buffett, obviously influenced by Jerry Jeff Walker's earlier quality cover of "Boats to Build" on 1997's "Cowboy Boots & Bathin Suits", then covered Clark's "Boats to Build" and "Cinco de Mayo in Memphis". Clark credits Townes Van Zandt as being a major influence on his songwriting. One of the most famous photos in country music history was taken on Clark's porch in 1972 of Clark, wife Susanna, Van Zandt, and Daniel Antopolsky by photographer Al Clayton. Clark and Van Zandt were best friends for many years until Van Zandt's death in 1997, and Clark has included a Van Zandt composition on most of his albums. In 1995, he recorded a live album with Van Zandt and Steve Earle, Together at the Bluebird Cafe, which was released in October 2001. Other live material can be found on his album Keepers. Earle released the tribute album Guy in 2019.
In 2006, Clark released Workbench Songs. The album was nominated for Best Contemporary Folk/Americana Album at the Grammy Awards. He also toured with Lyle Lovett, Joe Ely, and John Hiatt in 2004, 2005, and 2007. In May 2008, Clark canceled four concerts after breaking his leg. After two months on crutches, he began to perform again on July 4 at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington, DC, where he appeared with Verlon Thompson. On June 20, 2009, Clark announced a new album titled Somedays the Song Writes You, which was released on September 22, 2009. It features originals along with a Townes Van Zandt song titled "If I Needed You".
In December 2011, This One's for Him: A Tribute to Guy Clark (a two-CD set) was released by Icehouse Music and produced by longtime fan Tamara Saviano. The CD won Americana Album of the Year at the 2012 Americana Music Honors & Awards. Clark won the Grammy Award for Best Folk Album in 2014 for My Favorite Picture of You.
Texas country singer/songwriter Aaron Watson paid tribute to Clark in his song entitled "Ghost of Guy Clark", released in June 2019. In the song, Clark's ghost asks the protagonist to perform a song and is unimpressed; he then encourages the performer to write songs with greater passion.
Clark was married to songwriter and artist Susanna Clark from 1972 until her death from cancer on June 27, 2012. He had one son, Travis Carroll Clark (December 18, 1966 - October 12, 2017), from his first marriage to folksinger Susan Spaw. On May 17, 2016, Clark died in Nashville following a lengthy battle with lymphoma.
|Year||Album||Peak chart positions||Label|
|US Country||US||US Heat||US Indie||US Folk|
|1975||Old No. 1||41||RCA|
|1981||The South Coast of Texas|
|1988||Old Friends||Sugar Hill|
|1992||Boats to Build||Asylum|
|1999||Cold Dog Soup||Sugar Hill|
|2009||Somedays the Song Writes You||59||13||39|
|2013||My Favorite Picture of You||12||62||14||5|
Compilations and live albums
|1979||On The Road Live [live, promo]||Warner|
|1982||Best of Guy Clark||RCA|
|1983||Guy Clark – Greatest Hits||RCA|
|1997||Keepers [live]||Sugar Hill|
|The Essential Guy Clark||RCA|
|2001||Together at the Bluebird Cafe [live]
(with Townes Van Zandt and Steve Earle)
|2007||Americana Master Series:
Best of the Sugar Hill Years
|Live from Austin, TX||New West|
|Hindsight 21-20: Anthology 1975-1995||Raven|
|2008||The Platinum Collection||Warner|
|2011||Songs and Stories||Dualtone|
|2017||Guy Clark: The Best of Dualtone Years||Dualtone|
|1979||"Fools for Each Other"||96||Guy Clark|
|1981||"The Partner Nobody Chose"||38||The South Coast of Texas|
|1983||"Homegrown Tomatoes"||42||Better Days|
- Heartworn Highways - Documentary, Snapper/Catfish, 1981/2003, with Townes Van Zandt, David Allan Coe, and Steve Earle
- Be Here to Love Me - Documentary, Rake Films, 2004
- Heartworn Highways Revisited 2015
- Sweeting, Adam (May 19, 2016). "Guy Clark obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved October 25, 2016.
- Strong, Martin C. (2000). The Great Rock Discography (5th ed.). Edinburgh: Mojo Books. pp. 184–5. ISBN 1-84195-017-3.
- Freeman, Doug (July 19, 2013). "We Were From Texas: Guy Clark and the high price of inspiration". The Austin Chronicle. Austin, Texas. Retrieved November 25, 2019.
- Friskics-Warren, Bill (May 17, 2016). "Guy Clark, a King of the Texas Troubadours, Is Dead at 74". The New York Times. Retrieved May 22, 2016.
- Hurt, Edd (July 5, 2012). "Susanna Clark, artist, hit songwriter and wife of Guy Clark, dies at 73". Nashville Scene. Retrieved May 22, 2016.
- Moss, Marissa (April 22, 2015). "Classic 'Heartworn Highways' Documentary Gets Sequel 39 Years Later". Rolling Stone. Retrieved May 22, 2016.
- Remz, Jeffery (June 1997). Clark finds a set of Keepers. Country Standard Time. Accessed January 8, 2009.
- "Home: Guy Clark Master Songwriter". Guyclark.com. December 13, 2011. Retrieved April 17, 2014.
- "Coming Soon – This One's For Him: A Tribute to Guy Clark". Icehouse Music. August 17, 2011. Archived from the original on January 9, 2014. Retrieved August 6, 2013.
- "Tamara Saviano finds niche producing tribute albums". The Tennessean. July 17, 2014. Retrieved October 8, 2018.
- "'This One's For Him: A Tribute To Guy Clark' Wins Americana Album of the Year". Urban Country News. September 15, 2012. Retrieved April 17, 2014.
- "Guy Clark Wins "Best Folk Album" Grammy At 72 | Heartworn Highways Revisited". heartwornhighways.com. Retrieved September 26, 2018.
- "Angaleena Presley's New Album to Feature Miranda Lambert Song". rollingstone.com. February 17, 2017. Retrieved March 23, 2018.
- "How a Mainstream Hit Led Aaron Watson to Make His Most Audacious Album Yet". June 22, 2019.
- "Travis Carroll Clark - View Obituary & Service Information".
- "Guy Clark, Grammy-winning musician, dead at 74". Chicago Tribune. Associated Press. May 17, 2016. Retrieved May 17, 2016.
- Cooper, Peter (May 17, 2016). "Guy Clark dead at 74". The Tennessean. Retrieved May 17, 2016.
- Villalpando, Roberto (May 17, 2016). "Legendary Texas songwriter Guy Clark, 74, dies". Austin American-Statesman. Retrieved May 17, 2016.
- "Guy Clark: The Best of the Dualtone Years". Amazon. 2017.
- Without Getting Killed or Caught: The Life and Music of Guy Clark, by Tamara Saviano, 2016, Texas A&M University Press. ISBN 978-1623494544. Review at Texas Observer