Willie and Waylon and all are great examples of the craft of Texas songwriting, as are Lyle Lovett and Rodney Crowell and Robert Earle Keen but for me, Guy Clark is probably the most influential of the Texas Songwriters.
Everybody recorded his stuff and he never really got the credit. Most of his albums are classics; his performances are exceptional; and, he's an honest man who practices his craft daily. Townes Van Zandt may have been Steve Earle's hero, but Clark his mentor and safe haven. Clark spent years picking up the pieces of Townes' wreckage, getting him to shows, sessions and out of jails and hospitals while pondering the inevitable.
Rodney Crowell started drinking coffee at Susanna and Guy's kitchen table while escaping from an abusive father and met Emmylou Harris there.
Rosanne Cash sat with Rodney, Steve and Emmy Lou Harris writing lyrics and trying licks with Guy. And, an old 2nd or 3rd hand Ovation Celebrity and "Desperadoes Waiting For a Train" got me back into guitar playing and through the mourning over the death of my dad.
I feel honored to have the opportunity to contribute to this one...
First heard Guy's writing here, although I didn't know it with this one. Like I said, everybody covered him! Now my dad loved Bobby Bare's version of New Cut Road, but I think this version by Emmylou is definitive..."Guy Clark isn't speaking to me..." was a great inside joke, since her band leader for the Hot Band backing this one was fellow Clark friend, Rodney Crowell.
The life of Texas songwriter Guy Clark is certainly ripe for documentary treatment. Without Getting Killed or Caught: The Life and Music of Guy Clark will trace the life of the folk pioneer from his early Texas beginnings, through his historic career and up to present day.--American Song Writer, 4-20-2015
Mentioning Crowell, the lyrics for this one were provided by Guy and the song cited in his lifetime award for poetry by the Academy of Country Music a few years ago.
The project is doing quite well through the Kick Starter Campaign and while it still has a way to go, it'll be worth it. Guy lost his muse, love and inspiration a couple of years ago when Susanna passed away from complications of Alzheimer's. After a relatively small stroke, he's settled back into his routine, but his health isn't great; getting this done has a sort of short event horizon. But, it is a story that I'd like to see and hear told.
He's cut back on his touring because the logistics are just too tough. But, he still writes everyday, drinks a bit less whiskey and a lot less coffee, and has a group of devoted friends who help him stay the stubborn, graceful, forgiving and transcendent writer, singer and thinker who influenced the music, writing, thought and performance of so many people. Lyle Lovett says it well in one of the pieces in the Kick Starter -- "I wouldn't have a career without Guy Clark."