Archive for the ‘Guy Clark’ Tag
Things have been hopping in the Fervor Coulee Bunker. Several reviews have been posted at the usual sites.
Darrell Scott has long been a personal favourite. His latest release is very impressive. My review is up at Country Standard Time. http://www.countrystandardtime.com/d/cdreview.asp?xid=5983
Guy Clark passed this week, and I can’t add to the quality of tributes shared across the web. I offer only my favourite picture of him, taken in July of 1996 at the Calgary Folk Music Festival. He and Rosanne Cash were singing “Watermelon Dream.” It isn’t an exaggeration to write that Guy Clark changed the way I listen to music. He was a heck of a nice guy the one time I shook his hand, and I know I will listen to his songs to my final days.
James King also succumbed this week. My thoughts are posted at Fervor Coulee Bluegrass. http://www.countrystandardtime.com/blog/FervorCouleeBluegrass/entry.asp?xid=1090
Additional reviews have been posted at Lonesome Road Review.
PEI’s Nudie released an excellent album of country honky tonk this spring: http://lonesomeroadreview.com/everythings-different-night-nudie/
I had never heard of Jack Hardy before receiving A Tribute to Jack Hardy to review. It is quite an interesting album: http://lonesomeroadreview.com/tribute-jack-hardy-various-artists/
Steve Coffey has long been one of my favourite singer-songwriters, Albertan or otherwise. His latest set is a combination book of paintings and music that has limited release: http://lonesomeroadreview.com/paint-songs-steve-coffey/ I love Coffey’s visual work as much as I love his writing and singing. An amazing package.
More reviews are in the pipeline. Thanks, always, for visiting Fervor Coulee- hopefully you find artists to explore. Donald
So, another quiet Friday evening in the Fervor Coulee bunker. I had about 50 minutes until Blue Bloods started and the PVR was pretty near empty. What to do? Read a book? Nah, let’s YouTube for Guy Clark. This is what I’ve watched for the last 50 minutes or thereabouts: Guy alone, Guy with Emmylou, Guy with Old Friends, and even a song with Guy not even singing- and yet, he still makes an appearance.
I just wished someone has recorded Guy singing with Rosanne at the Calgary Folk Music Festival in (I think) ’96. “Watermelon Dream” was magical in duet form; until the end here, its the only live performance of the song I’ve heard, that I recall at least. No other hints included- enjoy the journey; I sure did.
Thanks for visiting Fervor Coulee. Donald
These types of lists are fairly self-indulgent, but most things we do seem to be. What the heck, then?
I am fairly confident in my choices this year- I created lists as the months passed, and have considered well in excess of a hundred albums for placement. Here then are my favourite roots music albums of the year, accompanied by links to longer pieces I’ve written or, alternately when I didn’t write about a particular album, video.
[Update: #25 has been revised. Someone asked why so little mainstream country. Answer, I don’t listen to most of what would be considered modern country. I didn’t listen to the Brandy Clark album enough yet to place it in my Top 25, but I am really enjoying it. Whether that is mainstream…]
Favourite Album Covers-
1. Ricky Skaggs & Bruce Hornsby- Live Cluck Ol’ Hen
2. Guy Clark- My Favorite Picture of You– Great story behind this one. Well executed.
3. Noam Pikelny- Plays Kenny Baker Plays Bill Monroe– some concert posters in the background may have pushed it over the top
4. Sturgill Simpson- High Top Mountain
5. Jack Lawrence- Arthel’s Guitar
Favorite Covers and Tribute Albums-
1.Don Rigsby- Doctor’s Orders: A Tribute to Ralph Stanley http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0MNcu_x6_xY
2. Let Us In Americana- The Music of Paul McCartney
3. Unsung Hero : A Tribute to the Music of Ron Davies
4. Joe Mullins & Junior Sisk- Bluegrass Hall of Fame https://fervorcoulee.wordpress.com/2013/12/12/junior-sisk-joe-mullins-hall-of-fame-bluegrass-review/
5. Jack Lawrence- Arthel’s Guitar
6. Martyn Joseph- Tires Rushing By in the Rain
7. Ben Sollee- The Hollow Sessions
8. You Don’t Know Me: Rediscovering Eddy Arnold
9. Matthew Sweet & Susanna Hoffs- Under the Covers, Vol.3
Favourite Reissues and Archival Releases of the Year-
1. George Jones- The Complete United Artists Solo Singles
2. Steve Forbert- Early On: The Best of the Mississippi Recordings and the Alive on Arrival/Jackrabbit Slim twofer, more concise and accessible than the previous Rolling Tide reissues
3. Townes Van Zandt- Sunshine Boy: The Unheard Sessions & Demos 1971-1972
4. Guy Clark- Dixie’s Bar & Bus Stop
5. The Bottle Rockets- The Bottle Rockets/The Brooklyn Side– The Bottle Rockets was and is one of the greatest Americana/alt.country albums ever recorded. The bonus tracks provide further context for the days that I wasn’t aware of until they were over. So enthralled with that album, I’ve allowed The Brooklyn Side to sit on the shelf untouched since the first and only time I played it all those years ago. My mistake. One I won’t allow to be repeated.
6. Billy Bragg Life’s A Riot with Spy vs Spy, 30th Anniversary Edition A most concise vision of the power of words and music; comes with a recent live encore of the 7-track e.p.
7. James Keelaghan History: The First 25 Years
Favourite Various Artists and Compilation Albums-
1. Divided & United: The Songs of the Civil War
2. The Daughters of Bluegrass- Pickin’ Like A Girl https://fervorcoulee.wordpress.com/2013/07/18/daughters-of-bluegrass-pickin-like-a-girl-review/
3. God Didn’t Choose Sides
4. Classic Banjo from Smithsonian Folkways
5. Ghost Brothers of Darkland County
The following are my favourite stand-alone albums of 2013, often the albums I spent the most time with this past year (or, in the case of late year releases, the albums I feel I will end up spending the most time with):
1. Guy Clark- My Favorite Picture of You: The elder statesman does it again, producing another exceptional collection of songs, all but a cover of a Lyle Lovett song co-writes. Beautifully sung and played. Clark’s thirteenth album of new material, recorded at age 71, was head and shoulders this past year’s finest roots music album. If there is justice, and voters were actually listening, he’ll receive a Grammy in January. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qIftiMZPVsE&list=RDntpyFfef-NA
2. John Reischman- Walk Along John https://fervorcoulee.wordpress.com/2013/07/27/john-reischman-walk-along-john-review/
3. J. R. Shore- State Theatre https://fervorcoulee.wordpress.com/2013/05/26/j-r-shore-state-theatre-review-the-polaris-music-prize/
4. Slaid Cleaves- Still Fighting the War: Gives ol’ Guy a run for his money. http://slaidcleaves.com/category/videos/
5. Mike Plume- Red and White Blues: Following up the very excellent 8:30 Newfoundland, Mike Plume returned not only with a most sincere Stompin’ Tom Connors tribute, but a set of songs- almost equal parts Maritime stomper and prairie balladry- that will soon stand with his best. http://mikeplume.com/steelbeltedwebsite/?page_id=19
6. Kimberley Rew- Healing Broadway: Pub roots. http://www.kimberleyrew.com/
7. Bruce Foxton- Back in the Room: If by roots you mean rock n roll. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=syxMnWmrACM
8. The Gibson Brothers- They Call It Music https://fervorcoulee.wordpress.com/2013/05/13/the-gibson-brothers-they-call-it-music-review/
9. Chris Jones & The Night Drivers- Lonely Comes Easy https://fervorcoulee.wordpress.com/2013/08/24/chris-jones-the-night-drivers-lonely-comes-easy-review/
10. D. B. Rielly- Cross My Heart & Hope to Die https://fervorcoulee.wordpress.com/2013/12/12/d-b-rielly-cross-my-heart-hope-to-die-review/
11. Darden Smith- Love Calling https://fervorcoulee.wordpress.com/2013/07/30/darden-smith-love-calling-review/
12. Robbie Fulks- Gone Away Backward http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T00vjRCmf3g
13. The Del McCoury Band- The Streets of Baltimore: Experience counts for a whole lot. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T_K_7pcdvck
14. Leeroy Stagger- Truth Be Sold https://fervorcoulee.wordpress.com/2013/11/23/leeroy-stagger-truth-be-sold-review/ http://exclaim.ca/MusicVideo/ClickHear/leeroy_stagger-cities_on_fire_video
15. Alice Gerrard- Bittersweet https://fervorcoulee.wordpress.com/2013/08/10/alice-gerrard-bittersweet-review/
16. Noam Pikelny- Plays Kenny Baker Plays Bill Monroe http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iqys8Ez7Cno
17. Marshall Chapman- Blaze of Glory: Another great album of honest roots rock. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=azPRk89nKaQ
18. Holly Williams- The Highway: Purchased after reading a couple reviews and having never heard her; glad I did. http://www.hollywilliams.com/portfolio-items/the-highway/
19. Sturgill Simpson- High Top Mountain: I’m glad all music isn’t this well-grounded in the country tradition. Makes it all the more special when you find it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tNV16tz1NK0
20. John Paul Keith- Memphis 3 A.M.: A long-time favourite singer. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TWk5Yo9dIG0
21. James King- Three Chords and the Truth: Only bought this one before Christmas; need to listen more, but nothing to lead me to believe it isn’t going to stay with me for a long time. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lWnKoIXS1KU
22. Kim Beggs- Beauty and Breaking: an exceptional collection of song that are already familiar. With more listens, I’m confident it will become even more appreciated. http://www.kimbeggs.com/videoplay.html?video=http://www.youtube.com/v/mL45VqBql00
23. Jeff Black- B-Sidea and Confessions, Volume Two https://fervorcoulee.wordpress.com/2013/05/20/jeff-black-b-sides-and-confessions-volume-two-review/
24. Peter Rowan- The Old School https://fervorcoulee.wordpress.com/2013/05/20/peter-rowan-the-old-school-review/
25. Blue Mafia- My Cold Heart https://fervorcoulee.wordpress.com/2013/08/23/blue-mafia-my-cold-heart-review/ Was in consideration right up until I wrote the final draft. Another listen brought it forward, knocking Emmylou & Rodney out of the 25th spot. I’m sure they will recover.
Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell- Old Yellow Moon: Once upon a time, an album this stunning would be much higher that #25; that is one indication of how great the last year has been. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0MNcu_x6_xY
Thanks for visiting Fervor Coulee so often in 2013, and I hope you will continue to find roots music opinion of interest in 2014 and beyond.
As always, Donald @FervorCoulee on the Twittering thing.
Thanks to Nashvillehigh for posting some clips from last week’s Americana shindig. Guy still has it, as this piece proves: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v_qRInQEwzw&feature=relmfu
My heart hurts more than a little listening, but I’m glad Guy is singing.
Susanna Clark died as June came to a close. http://turnstyledjunkpiled.com/2012/07/01/remembering-susanna-clark/ is as fine a piece as I’ve found about her. Truth be told, I may have heard a Susanna Clark song (“Come From the Heart”) before knowing I was listening to a Guy Clar.k one. Her smile was a highlight of Heartworn Highways. Thanks for visiting Fervor Coulee. Donald
Yesterday I stumbled upon Turnstyled Junkpiled, a site crafted by Courtney Sudbrink and this afternoon have spent a pleasant half-hour watching and listening to the videos she has posted as an L.A. tribute to Guy Clark. http://turnstyledjunkpiled.com/2012/01/31/dont-let-the-sunshine-fool-ya-the-sin-city-sings-the-songs-of-guy-clark/ Less polished performances than those contained on the very excellent This One’s For Him: The Songs of Guy Clark, the performers within Don’t Let the Sunshine Fool Ya are completely unknown to me, excepting Brennen Leigh who accompanies Noel McKay. What is especially nice about this little video sequence is the inclusion of a couple songs not usually encountered when someone drops a Clark song into a set. “The Ballad of Laverne & Captain Flint” and “Queenie’s Song” are performed by Mark W. Lennon and Jackson Tanner respectfully, and are highlights. “Don’t Let the Sunshine Fool Ya” is given a fine performance by Brian Wright and the Ladies Gun Club. The video is mostly of the ‘point and shoot’ variety and the sound quality fluctuates- heck, there is an L.A. Freeway running beside one of the performers. Still, a good listen. I’ll have to further explore some of these L.A. based artists including The Far West. Also at Turnstyled Junkpiled is a nice little piece that includes the definitive Clark perspective on the difference between he and Townes Van Zandt: “Townes was really crazy and I’m not.” Read the entire piece here: http://turnstyledjunkpiled.com/2012/02/01/guy-clark-his-craft-the-turnstyled-junkpiled-interview/ A lot of effort went into this Guy Clark feature; well done Turnstyled Junkpiled.
Thanks for visiting Fervor Coulee. Donald
Various Artists This One’s For Him: A Tribute to Guy Clark iTunes download
Some years ago, word of a birthday tape featuring Guy Clark’s Nashville friends performing his songs just for him circulated. I have never been fortunate to locate a dub of that set, but from all accounts it was something quite impressive.
Those of us outside that inner circle will have to satisfy ourselves with this remarkable set featuring 30 songs written (and co-written) by Clark and performed by some of the many performers and fellow writers whose lives he has touched. An incredible undertaking, this tribute to the living poet laureate of Texas songwriters has much to offer both the Clark devotee and the casual Americana appreciator.
Guy Clark has never been the household name that other Nashville-based singers and writers may be. His own albums have seldom charted and it was only with his 16th and most recent live release Songs and Stories that Clark finally cracked the Country Top 30. His singles fare no better, but others- among them Ricky Skaggs, Bobby Bare, Vince Gill, John Conlee, and Steve Wariner- took his tunes to the top of the charts while many more have used his material for album depth.
Still, Clark’s influence as a mentor to Rodney Crowell and Steve Earle is well-documented and his friendship with Townes Van Zandt is the stuff of legend. He paints with lyric, each word and phrase combining to create lasting images and impressions that cross generations. Frequently overlooked is the quality of his identifiable and memorable melodies. While it is always wonderful to hear Clark perform, it is equally enjoyable to experience interpretations of his songs.
Intended as a celebration of Guy Clark’s 70th birthday and opening with an unmistakable belly-laugh from the man himself, the compilers of This One’s For Him: A Tribute to Guy Clark waste no time in setting the bar high with frequent Clark collaborators Rodney Crowell (“That Old Time Feeling”) and Lyle Lovett with Emmylou Harris (“Anyhow I Love You”) interpreting two classic songs from his earliest albums.
From there it is two hours of uninterrupted enjoyment. All the expected Clark characters appear: the old man with “brown tobacco stains all down his chin”; the reluctant urban dweller who just wants to “get off this L.A. Freeway without getting killed or caught”; the dreamer who trusts that he can fly; the woman “standing on the gone side of leaving;” the wino who loved a Dallas whore; the Texas six-year old placing a nickel on a train track; and the fellow who recognizes that “there are only two things that money can’t buy, true love and home grown tomatoes.” Clark’s characters are not always right, but much like the man himself they always appear to be true.
Performing are the expected cast of voices, many who have recorded with Clark in the past (Crowell, Harris, Rosanne Cash) or have recorded his songs (Jack Ingram, Willie Nelson, Radney Foster). Not all the participants are on the north side of 50 as relative youngsters Hayes Carll, The Trishas, John Townes Van Zandt II, Ron Sexsmith, and Patty Griffin each take a song for a run, perhaps most remarkably Sexsmith who does his expected beautiful job with “Broken Hearted People.”
But, most of the featured singers are of that generation that came of age in the sixties and early seventies and who worked and traveled the same roads and shared similar experiences as Clark: Ray Wylie Hubbard, Terry Allen, Robert Earl Keen, Jerry Jeff Walker, Kevin Welch, Suzy Bogguss, John Prine, and Steve Earle.
There isn’t a wrong move throughout the set. The core band- featuring frequent Clark sidemen Shawn Camp, Verlon Thompson, and Kenny Malone, among others- provides consistency, creating a comfortable environment for each singer. Some songs swing with frivolity (Rosie Flores’s “My Baby Took A Limo to Memphis”) while others offer melancholy reflection (Terry Allen’s “Old Friends”). It is this balance that most distinguishes Clark’s writing- he builds around the gems that are life’s moments.
Guy Clark’s greatest song may be “The Randall Knife,” as powerful a song about father-son relations ever recorded. Vince Gill, who played on the song’s original session in 1983, sings here with more personality than anything on his mysteriously celebrated Guitar Slinger set of last year. He approach differs from Clark’s original, but the power of the words is maintained.
Another highlight is Joe Ely’s inspired reading of “Dublin Blues;” Ely gets to the core of this song- the regret, the loneliness, the desolation- as few other singers can. When he sings the opening lines “I wish I was in Austin, in the chilly Parlour Bar, drinking mad dog margaritas and not caring where you are,” you are aware that you are listening to someone who feels a connection to Clark’s legacy.
It is fitting that Jerry Jeff Walker closes this wonderful tribute as it was through Walker’s renditions of “L.A. Freeway” and “Desperadoes Waiting for a Train” that most of us were first exposed to Clark’s masterful approach to song writing. Walker sings a new song, “My Favourite Picture of You.” In it Clark’s description of his wife Susanna- “no beginning, no end,” “you never left but your bags were packed, just in case,” “it’s bent and faded and pinned to my wall,” “a curse on your lips but all I can see is beautiful,” “a stand-up angel who won’t back down,” and “a thousand words in the blink of an eye”- resonates powerfully: these are the moments that account our lives, our relationships.
Whether you are just discovering Guy Clark or have long appreciated his writing expertise, This One’s For Him: A Tribute to Guy Clark impresses.
A shorter version of this review was published in The Red Deer Advocate January 20, 2012