Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Guy Clark Still Finds Songwriting Hard Work New `Dublin Blues' Is Only the Eighth Album from This Folk Icon

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Guy Clark Still Finds Songwriting Hard Work New `Dublin Blues' Is Only the Eighth Album from This Folk Icon

Article excerpt

GUY CLARK figures there are only three parts of songwriting that are hard.

"Getting started, the middle part, then getting finished," he says.

An icon to the last decade's wave of folk/country songwriters, like Lyle Lovett, Steve Earle and Nanci Griffith, Clark is a meticulous craftsman who may spend months on a song, editing, fine-tuning, getting it just right.

Because of that work ethic, Clark, 53, has released only eight albums since his debut, 1975's "Old No. 1."

"It's hard," he says about songwriting. "It doesn't just fall out of the sky. You have to work at it. But I enjoy it."

So do fans, who marvel over Clark's ability to sum up complex emotions and situations in a single line. Having lived a hard-boiled life of late nights and longnecks, Clark writes with an honesty and simplicity that cut straight to the bone. In his gravel-and-whiskey voice, he touches emotions that most feel, but few express.

On "Stuff That Works," a song about his wife Susanna from his latest, "Dublin Blues," he sings:

I got a tattoo with her name right through my soul

I think everything she touches turns to gold.

On "The Cape" he tells the story of an 8-year-old who ties a flour sack around his neck as a Superman cape, then jumps off the roof:

He's one of those who knows that life is just a leap of faith

Spread your arms and hold your breath and always trust your cape.

"When I think about Guy Clark's music, words come to mind like intelligence," says Rodney Crowell, Clark's sometime songwriting partner. "I would apply passion, humor, intensity, vision. . . . I think it is essential for people to know and understand his music because it will change your consciousness when you get inside it."

Clark, who says he and Crowell "mostly giggle a lot" when they write together, shrugs off the compliments, which come not only from Crowell, but from Radney Foster, Ronnie Dunn, Hal Ketchum and Vince Gill. …

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