To celebrate his 70th birthday in November 2011, legendary songwriter Guy Clark spent a night at the Long Center with a host of musicians whose musical journeys have been influenced by the master word smith.
Just before his 71st birthday, Clark will take to the Austin stage for a two-night engagement.
Giants like Lyle Lovett and Jerry Jeff Walker paid tribute to Clark’s catalog alongside Texas favorites such as Radney Foster and Jack Ingram. And after the covers were sung, Clark made his way to the stage to join his longtime crew of writers and band mates for an unforgettable evening of stories and songs.
This weekend, just before his 71st birthday, Clark will take to the Austin stage again, this time for a two-night engagement at the Texas Union Theater on Saturday and Sunday.
It offers an intimate setting for a night (or two) with one of music's best storytellers.
Clark's story begins in the West Texas town of Monahans, but really takes shape in 1960s Austin/Houston/Los Angeles and 1970s Nashville, where he cemented a legacy that has led to four decades of some of the most iconic songs written in the folk/country tradition.
In 1972, Jerry Jeff Walker recorded Clark’s road anthem “L.A. Freeway,” and in 1973 he released "Desperados Waiting For A Train,” both of which have become fixtures of the rebel-rooted progressive country movement. It was 1975 that saw Clark’s entree into the Nashville recording scene with his RCA debut, Old No. 1, an album that has stood the test of time, just like Clark’s denim work shirt.
In the almost 40 years since its recording, the album's standouts — “Like A Coat From The Cold, “ “Texas 1947,” “That Old Time Feeling” — have not lost their appeal, but instead become more profound as the weight of their words and the soul of their simple construction have aged.
This affect is true for much of Clark’s catalog, as evidenced by 2011’s This One’s For Him: A Tribute To Guy Clark, which features modern covers of Clark’s classics by everyone from The Trishas (“She Ain’t Going Nowhere”) and Ray Wylie Hubbard (“Homegrown Tomatoes”) to John Townes Van Zandt II (“Let Him Roll”) and Jack Ingram ("Stuff That Works").
Perhaps Jack Ingram put it best at last year’s sold out Long Center event:
I always wanted to get stupid and listen to Guy Clark records. I spent a lot of lonely Friday nights…
Guy Clark’s return to Austin this weekend will be intimate — and maybe a bit hushed — but it will not be lonely. It will be the night with a legend, and the songs that shaped a movement.
Guy Clark plays the Texas Union Theater Nov. 3 and Nov. 4. Tickets are available online.