This One’s For Him: A Tribute to Guy Clark Available December 6, 2011
Loving tribute celebrates Clark’s 70th birthday
Double CD set includes recordings by Rodney Crowell, Lyle Lovett, Joe Ely, Shawn Colvin, Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Emmylou Harris & John Prine, Patty Griffin, Ron Sexsmith, Rosanne Cash, Steve Earle, Vince Gill, Jerry Jeff Walker, Robert Earl Keen, and more. Produced by Tamara Saviano and Shawn Camp
Nashville, TN, November 15, 2011—Houston’s Icehouse Music will release This One’s For Him: A Tribute to Guy Clark on December 6, 2011 to celebrate Clark’s 70th birthday. Clark was born in Monahans, Texas on November 6, 1941.
The collection was lovingly produced by GRAMMY-winning producer Tamara Saviano (Beautiful Dreamer: The Songs of Stephen Foster)—who is also working with Clark on his definitive biography—and frequent Clark co-writer Shawn Camp (“Sis Draper,” “Magnolia Wind”).
The tribute includes 30 tracks by 33 Americana artists who are friends and colleagues of Clark or who have been influenced by his remarkable compositions. The collection was mixed and mastered by Austin engineer Fred Remmert.
Guy Clark’s poetry resonates deeply with his fellow songwriters.
“Guy’s songs are literature,” says Lyle Lovett, among the venerable artists who eagerly gathered for This One’s For Him: A Tribute to Guy Clark. “The first time I heard Guy Clark, I thought it made everything I’d heard up to that point something other than a song. His ability to translate the emotional into the written word is extraordinary.”
Accordingly, Clark’s most vibrant (“Instant Coffee Blues”) and vivid vignettes (“Desperadoes Waiting for a Train”) reel with cinematic landscapes (“The Last Gunfighter Ballad,” “The Cape”). Novellas frequently unfold within minutes (“Better Days,” “She Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere”).
Clark’s singular storytelling chills with striking familiarity (“The Dark”). “Songs are like Japanese painting,” he explains. “Less is more. One brushstroke takes the place of many if you put it in the right place. I’m trying to get whoever is listening to think, ‘Oh, man, I was there. I did that. I know what that’s about.’ Too many details take away.” Clark’s add volumes. Remember that old blue shirt? Mad Dog margarita? June bug on the window screen?
Of course, our passions forever burn brighter for the flour sack cape. Few capture courage as timelessly. “Guy Clark is like a dancer with the way he talks and a photographer with the way he writes,” noted Texas indie artist Terri Hendrix says. “He’s the epitome of American songwriting.”
Clark’s watercolor imagery blueprints his legend, but generosity ultimately cements his legacy. For four decades, the longtime Nashville resident, whose own Grammy-nominated Somedays the Song Writes You (2009) soars as seamlessly as his hallmark debut Old No. 1 (1975), has cultivated songwriting talent enthusiastically. His matchless eye yields high dividends: Americana royalty Shawn Camp, Rodney Crowell, Steve Earle, Vince Gill and Lovett barely begin the list he’s given sea legs. Young writers today immediately earn credibility with his stamp.
“Guy is the king in a lot of ways,” says rising songwriter Hayes Carll, who has split pages in the storied basement workshop where Clark writes and builds guitars. “I think everybody who was around Guy learned a lot from him and I think the entire music world is indebted to him for what he taught other writers. Everybody who had a chance to learn from him came away a better writer. He gave me a shot before I deserved one.” As friends say, Clark’s a curator, a creative caretaker. He celebrates high watermarks that others achieve.
This One’s for Him: A Tribute to Guy Clark returns the favor. Artists brought two key instruments: a guitar and profound reverence. Individual investments quickly emerged. Perhaps most notably, Gill claims a haunting bond. “Giant tears were falling all over my guitar as we were playing,” the country star remembers about serving as guitarist on Clark’s original “Randall Knife” recording nearly thirty years ago. “My dad was a lawyer, and he died when I was forty. Guy and I are tied at the hip through that song.”
“Let’s give her a good go and make ol’ Guy proud of us…” said Rodney Crowell kicking off the collection on the first day as he readied to record “That Old Time Feeling.” The double CD set was recorded live in studio with a core house band that included multi-instrumentalist Shawn Camp, guitarist Verlon Thompson, & pianist Jen Gunderman. The tribute was recorded in Nashville, Tennessee and Austin, Texas with a rotating cast of other musicians including multi-instrumentalist Lloyd Maines, bass players Glenn Fukunaga, Mike Bub and Glenn Worf, and drummers Kenny Malone and Larry Atamanuik.
Folks mostly laughed throughout the sessions. Swapped stories. Enjoyed company. Picked and grinned like those dusky evenings over at Guy and Susanna’s near Old Hickory Lake in the 1970s. Fittingly, Crowell issued our collective mission statement the very first day. We think you’ll agree everyone succeeded.
|1. That Old Time Feeling – Rodney Crowell
||1. Dublin Blues – Joe Ely
|2. Anyhow I Love You – Lyle Lovett
||2. Magnolia Wind – Emmylou Harris & John Prine
|3. All He Wants Is You – Shawn Colvin
||3. The Last Gunfighter Ballad – Steve Earle
|4. Homeless – Shawn Camp
||4. All Through Throwing Good Love After Bad – Verlon Thompson
|5. Broken Hearted People – Ron Sexsmith
||5. The Dark – Terri Hendrix
|6. Better Days – Rosanne Cash
||6. LA Freeway – Radney Foster
|7. Desperadoes Waiting For A Train – Willie Nelson
||7. The Cape – Patty Griffin
|8. Baby Took A Limo To Memphis – Rosie Flores
||8. Hemingway’s Whiskey – Kris Kristofferson
|9. Magdalene – Kevin Welch
||9. Texas Cookin’ – Gary Nicholson, Darrell Scott & Tim O’Brien
|10. Instant Coffee Blues – Suzy Bogguss
||10. Stuff That Works – Jack Ingram
|11. Homegrown Tomatoes – Ray Wylie Hubbard
||11. Randall Knife – Vince Gill
|12. Let Him Roll – John Townes Van Zandt II
||12. Texas 1947 – Robert Earl Keen
|13. The Guitar – Ramblin’ Jack Elliott
||13. Old Friends – Terry Allen
|14. Cold Dog Soup – James McMurtry
||14. She Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere – The Trishas
|15. Worry B Gone – Hayes Carll
||15. My Favorite Picture of You – Jerry Jeff Walker
Born in Oklahoma, Gary P. Nunn found his heart’s true home in the Lone Star State after his family moved to West Texas when he was in sixth grade. In the town of Brownfield just outside of Lubbock, he was an honors student, excelled in athletics, and started his first band soon after arriving. When he landed in Austin in 1967 to study pharmacy at the University of Texas, he presaged the “cosmic cowboy” movement to come with one of Austin’s favorite bands, The Lavender Hill Express, with the late Rusty Weir. After Willie Nelson, Michael Murphey and Jerry Jeff Walker all moved to town, Nunn was such a pivotal figure on the scene that at one point he was playing bass with all three artists. His talents on keyboards and vocals were also heard on many of the legendary albums from that era.
When Murphey arrived in Austin in 1972, he immediately asked Nunn to help him put together a band. While in London recording Murphey’s Cosmic Cowboy Souvenir album, two key events occurred for Nunn. One day in his hotel room, wishing he were back in Texas, he wrote “London Homesick Blues.” As Nunn recalls, “I just wrote it to kill time, and as a humorous exercise in writing a country song. I never thought that anything would ever become of that song. No one is more surprised than me at what it became.”
At Abby Road Studio, he also met an English music publisher who at the time had 90 songs on the British Top 100. It inspired Nunn to start his own publishing company when he got back to Austin to funnel songs he liked by songwriters he knew to the artists he worked with as well as others.
Nunn was a key figure in The Lost Gonzo Band when they recorded Jerry Jeff Walker’s landmark ¡Viva Terlingua! album, on which “London Homesick Blues” was a breakout hit. During his time with Walker, Nunn recalls, “I was fortunate enough to have some good songwriters come my way, and I channeled some of their tunes to Jerry Jeff. And they became some of his more popular songs, even today. I seem to have always had a knack for finding a tune.” And Nunn’s own songs have always served him well, being recorded by stars like Willie Nelson (“The Last Thing I Needed, The First Thing This Morning”)which hit #2, Rosanne Cash (“Couldn’t Do Nothing’ Right”), which hit #15 on the country singles charts), David Allen Coe and many other artists.
After four years and six albums with Walker, The Lost Gonzo Band struck out on their own in 1977 to record three critically acclaimed major label albums. Then in 1980, Nunn went solo when the Gonzos called it a day, and he hasn’t looked back since.
He started his own label, Guacamole Records, and was finally the full master of his own musical fate. His unflagging popularity in and around the Lone Star State has kept the houses full for 30 years whenever and wherever he plays. And Nunn has also made numerous visits to Europe, where he’s considered a Texas musical legend. Along the way he has appeared on TV shows like “Austin City Limits,” “Nashville Now,” TNN’s “Texas Connection” and many others as well as on national broadcasts of Texas Rangers baseball games singing the National Anthem.
In 1985, Nunn relocated to a family farm he inherited in Oklahoma, running an 800-acre cattle ranch at the same time as his musical career. He established the Terlingua North Chili Cook-Off and Music Festival there, where now popular acts like Pat Green and Cross Canadian Ragweed played early in their careers. “It seems every time we had a young and upcoming band up there, it was like they hit a diving board and just sprung into the air,” Nunn notes. And within today’s thriving Texas and Red Dirt music scene, he’s a revered elder statesman to countless performers and songwriters who teethed and grew up on his music. “They’ve let me know I inspired them and showed them how it could be done.”
In addition to the many gold albums on which he has played and/or written and published songs, Nunn has earned a number of notable awards and honors over the years. He was named an Official Ambassador to the World by Texas Governor Mark White, and years later Governor Rick Perry also declared him an Ambassador of Texas Music. In 2004, he was inducted into the Texas Hall of Fame, and he is also honored in the West Texas Walk of Fame in Lubbock as well as the Texas Department of Commerce and Tourism’s roster of Lone Star Greats who are leaders in the fields of art, athletics and music. As well, the Oklahoma House of Representatives recognized Nunn for his contribution to the preservation of the unique Southwestern style of music.
“The thing I’m proudest of is being a member of the West Texas Walk of Fame in Lubbock with Buddy Holly, Waylon Jennings, Bob Wills and Roy Orbison — guys who were my heroes. To me that’s just the greatest thing,” he enthuses. “And then today, turning on Sirius/XM radio and hearing myself played next to Hank Williams, Hank Thompson, Willie Nelson and Johnny Bush. I’m just so proud and pleased to be there among them.”
For Nunn, who in 2003 moved back to the Austin area, the secret to all his continuing success is deceptively simple. “My focus has always been on the audience and showing then a good time, and perhaps they will take a little Texas pride home with them,” he explains. “What I’ve tried to do is incorporate the musical genres that are indigenous to Texas, along with some neighboring styles. My goal is to paint as much of a Texas picture as I can with the music and just immerse people in that culture. I think it’s great, and I just love it and want to promote it.”
And now, more than half a century since he first started playing music, Nunn enthuses, “I’m having more fun now than ever. It just feels good. When you have a great band behind you and the audience is out there on the dance floor, you just say, ‘Yeah! This the reason I got into this in the first place.’ I love it more than ever.”
Gary P. Nunn’s album What I Like About Texas is available at Icehouse Music.