Texas singer-songwriter Guy Clark passed away today at the age of 74.
Long held in high-esteem by fellow songwriters and fans of lyrical mastery, Clark was what you might call a “musician’s musician.” In the popular lexicon, that means that he was a “really good musician whose work didn’t translate to chart success.”
Despite this, Clark’s 40-year career led to success for others, as his songs were covered by the likes of Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson and literally hundreds of other songwriters both known and anonymous. It would be impossible to attempt to eulogize Clark without mentioning his lifelong friendship with fellow “musician’s musician” Townes Van Zandt. Like Clark, Van Zandt carved out a name for himself playing his own songs in dingy cafes, juke joints and whatever ratty stages would allow them.
In fact, in 1995, the two songwriters, along with the like-minded Steve Earle, recorded a set performed in the round at Nashville’s Bluebird Cafe. Van Zandt died in 1997, and Clark would generally include at least one of his songs per album up through his last album, 2013’s “My Favorite Picture Of You.”
The Nashville songwriting community and the rest of the music-loving world lost another good one today. Listen to some Guy Clark below and remember: spread your arms, hold your breath and always trust your cape.