Guy Clark, the dean of Texas songwriters, died earlier today from lung cancer. This has been a bad year for musicians, and Guy’s death hit me especially hard. I’ve been listening to his music since 1975 when he released his first album, and I met Guy many times at the Kerrville Folk Festival. For those unfamiliar with his work, many musicians have recorded his songs over the years, including Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, John Denver, Ricky Skaggs, Emmylou Harris, George Strait, Jerry Jeff Walker and too many others to mention. I once asked Guy how it felt to have so many people with less songwriting talent than him having hits with his songs. He laughed and replied, “As long as the royalties keep coming in I don’t care. I kinda like being anonymous.
Guy Clark was a poet who crafted simple songs with deep meanings. My Facebook timeline is filled today with friends reminesing about how Guy helped their careers, taught them how to write songs, cowrote songs with them, and often just touched them through his music. Guy didn’t believe in an afterlife, so he was kind of a kindred spirit to us on these forums. Picking his best song is impossible. Rolling Stone has an excellent article on some of Guy’s best songs.
Here is one on youth that has a personal meaning for me.
“Well he 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.”
I’m drinking a few beers tonight, and shedding a few tears. Thanks for all the great songs, Guy. You didn’t live forever, but your songs will last as long as our civilization.