Guy Clark

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"Susanna Clark" redirects here. For the British author, see Susanna Clarke.
For other people with similar names, see Guy Clarke (disambiguation).
Guy Clark
Guy Clark at the 2009 Newport Folk Festival.jpg
Clark at the 2009 Newport Folk Festival
Background information
Birth name Guy Clark
Born (1941-11-06) November 6, 1941 (age 74)
Monahans, Texas, United States
Genres Country, texas country, outlaw country, folk
Occupation(s) Musician, singer-songwriter, producer
Instruments Guitar, vocals
Years active 1970s–present
Labels RCA, Warner, Sugar Hill, Elektra, Dualtone

Guy Charles Clark (born November 6, 1941)[1] is a Grammy Award winning American Texas Country and folk singer, musician, songwriter, recording artist, and performer. He has released more than twenty albums, and his songs have been recorded by other artists including Jerry Jeff Walker, Jimmy Buffett, Lyle Lovett, Ricky Skaggs, Steve Wariner, and Rodney Crowell. Guy Clark won the 2014 Grammy Award for Best Folk Album: My Favorite Picture Of You.

Clark was born in Monahans, Texas and eventually settled in Nashville, where he helped create the progressive country and outlaw country genres. His songs "L.A. Freeway" and "Desperados Waiting for a Train" that helped launch his career were covered by numerous performers.


He is an accomplished luthier and often plays his own guitars.[2] 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, Hayes Carll, Brad Paisley, John Denver, Alan Jackson, Rodney Crowell, The Highwaymen, and Kenny Chesney have recorded Clark's songs.[3] Emmylou Harris has accompanied him on several recordings, particularly his own version of "Desperados Waiting for a Train" on his first album, Old No. 1, released in 1975.

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.[citation needed]

Numerous artists have charted with Clark-penned tunes. In 1982, Bobby Bare made it to the Country Top Twenty with Clark's "New Cut Road". That same year, bluegrass leader Ricky Skaggs hit No. 1 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 Ten in 1985; The Highwaymen, who introduced "Desperados Waiting for a Train" to a new generation that same year; and John Conlee, whose interpretation of "The Carpenter" rode into the Top Ten in 1987. Clark is frequently referred to as The Fifth Highwayman.

Steve Wariner took his cover of Clark's "Baby I'm Yours" to No. 1 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 #l hits for Crowell. Brad Paisley and Alan Jackson cover Clark's "Out in the Parkin' Lot," co-written with Darrell Scott, on Paisley's Time Well Wasted CD. Jimmy Buffett has covered Clark's "Boats to Build" and "Cinco de Mayo in Memphis".[4] Clark credits Townes Van Zandt as being a major influence on his songwriting. They were best friends for many years until Van Zandt's death in 1997,[4] and since then Clark has included one of Van Zandt's compositions 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.

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.[5] 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 entitled "Somedays the Song Writes You" which was released on September 22, 2009. It features originals along with a Townes Van Zandt song entitled "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.[6] The CD won Americana Album of the Year[7]

Guy Clark won the Grammy Award for Best Folk Album in 2014 for My Favorite Picture of You.


Clark was married to songwriter and artist, Susanna Clark from 1972 through her death from cancer on June 27, 2012.[8]



Year Album Peak chart positions Label
US Country US US Heat US Indie US Folk
1975 Old No. 1 41 RCA
1976 Texas Cookin' 48
1978 Guy Clark Warner
1981 The South Coast of Texas
1982 Best of Guy Clark
1983 Better Days 48
Guy Clark – Greatest Hits RCA
1988 Old Friends Sugar Hill
1992 Boats to Build Asylum
1995 Dublin Blues
Craftsman Rounder/Philo
1997 Keepers Sugar Hill
The Essential Guy Clark RCA
1999 Cold Dog Soup Sugar Hill
2001 Together at the Bluebird Cafe
(with Townes Van Zandt and Steve Earle)
American Originals
2002 The Dark 46 Sugar Hill
2006 Workbench Songs 74 36 Dualtone
2007 Americana Master Series:
Best of the Sugar Hill Years
Sugar Hill
Live from Austin, TX New West
Hindsight 21-20: Anthology 1975-1995 Raven
2008 The Platinum Collection Warner
2009 Somedays the Song Writes You 59 13 39 Dualtone
2011 Songs and Stories 29 146 2 18 6
2013 My Favorite Picture of You 12 62 14 5


Year Single US Country Album
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



  1. ^ Strong, Martin C. (2000). The Great Rock Discography (5th ed.). Edinburgh: Mojo Books. pp. 184–5. ISBN 1-84195-017-3. 
  2. ^ "Guy Clark "Workbench Songs" Dualtone Slaid Cleaves "Unsung" Rounder". October 19, 2006. Retrieved 2014-04-17. 
  3. ^ "Austin News, Events, Restaurants, Music". The Austin Chronicle. Retrieved 2014-04-17. 
  4. ^ a b Clark finds a set of Keepers. Country Standard Time. Jeffrey B. Remz, June 1997. Accessed January 8, 2009.
  5. ^ "Home: Guy Clark Master Songwriter". December 13, 2011. Retrieved 2014-04-17. 
  6. ^ "Coming Soon – This One's For Him: A Tribute to Guy Clark". Icehouse Music. August 17, 2011. Retrieved 2013-08-06. 
  7. ^ "'This One's For Him: A Tribute To Guy Clark’ Wins Americana Album of the Year". Urban Country News. September 15, 2012. Retrieved 2014-04-17. 
  8. ^ [1][dead link]

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Cowboy Jack Clement
AMA Lifetime Achievement Award for Songwriting
Succeeded by
Rodney Crowell