Triple Threat Songwriter: Words, Music, Album Art

By Tennessean, The | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, July 1, 2012 | Go to article overview

Triple Threat Songwriter: Words, Music, Album Art


Tennessean, The, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


NASHVILLE -- Susanna Clark, the former art teacher who went on to pen songs recorded by Emmylou Harris, Kathy Mattea, Miranda Lambert, Rosanne Cash, Jerry Jeff Walker, husband Guy Clark and many more, died Wednesday in Nashville. She was 73, and had been in poor health in recent years.

Clark was a vital figure in Nashville's close-knit singer- songwriter community beginning in the early 1970s. She was a close friend and inspiration to Townes Van Zandt, Rodney Crowell and others, and her lyrics, her music and her visual art were enjoyed by millions: Her evocative paintings graced the covers of Willie Nelson's "Stardust," Emmylou Harris' "Quarter Moon In A Ten Cent Town," Guy Clark's "Old No. 1," Nanci Griffith's "Dust Bowl Symphony" and other acclaimed albums.

Clark was instrumental in convincing her husband to quit his work at a Houston television station and to focus on songwriting. The couple moved to Nashville together in 1971, and Guy Clark would go on to become a member of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.

"I just asked him what he wanted to do, and he said, 'Music,'" she once told a Journal of Country Music reporter. "I said, 'Well, let's do it.' And he said, 'That's the first time a woman has ever asked me to quit a job.'"

The Clarks' household was a gathering place, a hive of activity for songwriters in the mid 1970s. Mrs. Clark was the first of those writers to pen a hit, and she did it with the first song she ever wrote, "I'll Be Your San Antone Rose. …

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