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Somedays the Song Writes You

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iTunes Review

Guy Clark’s music hasn’t changed much over the past 35 years — which is a good thing. Somedays the Song Writes You finds this master singer/songwriter craftsman in a reflective mood, spinning tales about life and love in his trademark semi-spoken style. The mystery of the creative process is a reoccurring theme here, examined with a knowing eye in “Hemingway’s Whiskey,” “Maybe I Can Paint Over That,” and the title number. “The Guitar” is an eerie slice of Americana that shows off Clark’s deceptively plainspoken narrative skills. True-hearted women (“All She Wants Is You”), stalwart sailors (“Eamon”) and ragged ne’er-do-wells (“The Coat,” “One Way Ticket Down”) are depicted with Clark’s typically sure feel for color and detail. He augments his own material with a tender reading of old friend Townes Van Zandt’s “If I Needed You.” Throughout, the music is firmly in the Texas acoustic country tradition, highlighted by Verlon Thompson’s blade-sharp guitar picking and Kenny Malone’s soft yet firm drums.

Customer Reviews

Finely crafted acoustic country-folk songs from a Texas legend

The songwriter’s craft of juxtaposing words to describe a person, scene or situation or to communicate a feeling is only the surface of a process that starts deep within. The ability to step outside one’s own moment to describe what’s happening or happened, to recognize, observe and frame an experience in which one may be an active participant, is the more ephemeral side of songwriting. It’s something that few do as well as Guy Clark, and married to finely selected words, his songs provide uncommonly detailed and communicative windows into moments and people who might otherwise pass unobserved. In the title song, Clark addresses the alchemical process of songwriting. He notes that songs often appear to songwriters from thin air to exert themselves into being. But with a writer of Clark’s caliber, years of practice has left him open to divine these works, to snatch a moment of consciousness out of the rushing river of living. On “Hemingway’s Whiskey” he communes writer to writer about the debilitating muse, offering a personal glimpse into the pain of writing, and a picture of drinking as a chronic enabler rather than the classic reactive salve to lost love. Clark is equally effective sketching the seedy side of town, conjuring the scene of a seafarer’s final voyage, and animating a pawn shop guitar. The latter’s twist ending is laid in a lovely flurry of acoustic finger picking. The album is filled with lush acoustic playing from Clark and Verlon Thompson, and the rhythms of Kenny Malone (drums) and Bryn Davies (bass) provide a stable but subtle bottom end. Clark’s voice has weathered over the years, and though it’s never been the prettiest or most melodic instrument, it’s filled with emotion, particularly when covering his late friend Townes Van Zandt’s “If I Needed You.” His co-writes with Rodney Crowell, Shawn Camp, Gary Nicholson, as well as several up-and-coming writers, bring together two generations of his disciples. Clark’s long been a “songwriter’s songwriter,” but he’s never stopped working on his craft, and the results are plain to hear on this latest release. [©2009 hyperbolium dot com]

Somedays the Song Writes You

I don't know how, but I think he's getting better with time. "Eamon" and "The Coat" are future classics, as good as anything he's ever done. I've never listened to a singly Guy Clark collection without being amazed at the integrity of the work. Even the best of them seem to write themselves out after a few years or a decade. Not Guy Clark. It's like he has an endless source of genuine and creative art somewhere inside himself. He is amazing.

He does it again!

I'm sure I have only scratched the surface of this album by listening to it twice. Absolutely beautiful.


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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