by Matt Watroba, FolkAlley.com
I’ve never liked the term legend to describe someone like Guy Clark. A legend is unverifiable. We know Guy lives because we see him in concert and revel in the trail of perfectly crafted gems he’s left along the path of a career that spans over 35 years. His latest gift to us is a live performance captured at the Belcourt Theatre in Nashville, and preserved forever on the new CD, Songs and Stories.
Songs and Stories is a thirteen song retrospective of Guy’s songwriting life along with the stories that put those songs, and his extraordinary artistic life, in perspective. Guy gives some of it away to his life-long friend and fellow writer Verlon Thompson as well as his pal and frequent co-writer, Shawn Camp. Also joining Guy on stage is bassist, Bryn Davies and famed percussionist, Kenny Malone. The result highlights songs that span from Guy’s first studio release Old No. 1 (first released in 1975) and his last, Some Days the Song Writes You (2009). From his classic, “L.A. Freeway” to his “Magnolia Wind” Guy proves, once again, that every line counts.
Listening to Songs and Stories feels like being at a party where great friends are sitting around telling tales and making music together. Alongside the familiar Guy Clark tunes like “Homegrown Tomatoes” and “Out In the Parking Lot,” you’ll also find Camp’s (and Guy’s) “Sis Draper,” and a spirited performance of Thompson’s, “Joe Walker’s Mare.” With a nod to co-writer Rodney Crowell–who happens to be sitting in the audience–Guy also brings back to life the poignant, “Stuff That Works,” a song originally recorded on his masterpiece, Dublin Blues. This live performance pays tribute, not to the legend, but to the man who has raised the bar for singer/songwriters throughout the world.