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Boats to Build

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iTunes Review

Boats to Build reconvenes the team from 1988’s Old Friends, but this time the performances are fleshed out further, as if Clark is adding curtains and a rug to a room that once contained only a blanket and a lamp. Miles Wilkinson’s clean, naturalistic production once again stays out of the way in order to get the crucial details in these performances — Clark’s whispered growl, or the resonance that a metal slide makes against Dobro strings. “Picasso’s Mandolin” is a symbol for the freedom every artist needs to make his best work. “Could be cubes it could be curves,” sings Clark, “I like to mix the paint with nerve.” It’s a description that applies to “Baton Rouge,” “Ramblin’ Jack and Mahan” and “Must Be My Baby,” songs that use precision imagery to represent worlds of love, regret and loss. In the best possible sense, Boats to Build is an old man’s album. These songs are about reflection — about how you process several decades’ worth of experiences after the dust has settled. Clark is one of the few songwriters who really thrives in that space, and with his gentle gruffness and dry humor, he is the ideal narrator.

Customer Reviews

The best of Guy's music

"Boats to Build" is an incredible album. Simply the best lyrics I've had the pleasure of listening to. Besides being a master craftman of boats, Guy is a master craftman of lyrics. I drove across the country listening this album and somehow lost it in a move. I looked for it on iTunes and just now noticed they've finally added it. Didn't waste a second before ordering it! All the songs on Boats to Build are great but you'll especially like the wit of "Too Much" and the lines in "How'd You Get This Number".

Back to the basics, and fantastic songwriting...

I don't know what a "wangster" is, but Guy ain't it. With its infectuous hooks, simple arrangements, and a really good choice of when to go heavy or light on the backing, "Boats to Build" is Guy Clark doing what he does best: making really great music. The songs run from quirky ("Rambling Jack and Mahan, with its really fun reference to "cowboyed all to Hell") to heartbreaking ("I Don't Love You Much Do I") to reflective ("Boats to Build"). There's not a clunker in the group. If you like, say., Lyle Lovett, or even Tom Waits and other storytellers, give Guy a try, starting with this, his most accessible album.


This album is really one of Guy Clark's most impressive to date!


Born: November 6, 1941 in Monahans, TX

Genre: Country

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Guy Clark didn't just write songs, he crafted them, with the kind of hands-on care and respect that a master carpenter (a favorite image of his) would when faced with a stack of rare hardwood. Clark worked slowly and with strict attention to detail -- he released only 13 studio albums in his 40-year career -- but he produced an impressive collection of timeless gems, leaving very little waste behind. His albums never met much commercial success, but the emotional level of his work consistently transcended...
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