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Guy Clark dies at 74

Tuesday, May 17, 2016 – Leading Texas singer/songwriter Guy Clark, who penned such songs as "LA Freeway" and ""Desperados Waiting for a Train," died at 74, his family reported today.

Clark had been ill for some time,including with cancer, although no cause of death was given.

Clark was a Grammy-winner, Nashville Songwriter Hall of Fame member, Academy of Country Music Poet's Award honoree.

He was born in the west Texas town of Monahans on Nov 6, 1941. The family lived at his grandmother's 13-room shotgun hotel. When Clark's father returned from World War II and graduated from law school, the Clarks moved to the Gulf coast town of Rockport, Texas.

After several attempts at college, Clark joined the Peace Corps in 1963. He trained in Rio Abajo, Puerto Rico, practicing water survival, rock climbing and trekking. Clark moved to Houston, where he opened a guitar repair shop. He played guitar and sang folk songs at the Houston Folklore Society, Sand Mountain coffee shop and the Jester Lounge, where he began life long friendships with fellow songwriters and musicians Mickey Newbury, Townes Van Zandt and Jerry Jeff Walker. He married his first wife, folksinger Susan Spaw, and they had a son Travis in 1966.

In 1969, the marriage ended, Clark moved to San Francisco and again worked in a guitar repair shop. Within a year, he moved back to Houston. Clark landed a job building Dobros at the Dopyera Brothers Original Musical Instruments Co. He played with a bluegrass band on the weekends and pitched his songs to publishing companies in between.

He signed a publishing deal with Sunbury Dunbar and moved to Nashville in the fall of 1971. Several months later, he married Susanna Talley with Townes Van Zandt as best man.

In that first year in East Nashville Susanna and Townes wrote "Heavenly Houseboat Blues," while Clark wrote "Desperados Waiting for a Train," "L.A. Freeway," and "That Old Time Feeling." Clark released "Old No. 1," his debut for RCA Records in 1975.

Clark left RCA for Warner Brothers in 1978, scoring a number one song with Ricky Skaggs' take on "Heartbroke" in 1982 and making it onto the Billboard country chart with "Homegrown Tomatoes" in 1983.

Clark signed with Sugar Hill Records in 1989 and later released a string of folk and Americana albums with Sugar Hill, Asylum Records and Dualtone Music Group during the next two-and-a-half decades: "Old Friends," "Boats to Build," "Dublin Blues," "Keepers," "Cold Dog Soup," "The Dark," "Workbench Songs," "Somedays the Song Writes You" and his final 2013 Grammy-winning Best Folk Album, "My Favorite Picture of You."

Clark enjoyed success as a songwriter as well. He co-wrote the Rodney Crowell hit "She's Crazy for Leavin'" with Crowell along with Top 10 country songs for Vince Gill ("Oklahoma Borderline"), John Conlee ("The Carpenter") and Steve Wariner ("Baby I'm Yours").

Susanna died from complications of lung cancer in 2012. Due to ongoing health problems, Clark stopped touring and recording shortly thereafter. He is survived by his son Travis and daughter-in-law Krista McMurtry Clark; grandchildren Dylan and Ellie Clark; and sisters Caroline Clark Dugan and Jan Clark. Funeral arrangements are pending.

More news for Guy Clark

CD reviews for Guy Clark

The King of the Texas Troubadours CD review - The King of the Texas Troubadours
"The Best Of The Dualtone Years," a collection of Guy Clark's later recordings, finds the late respected singer/songwriter aging particularly well. He sings these songs with that familiar gruff voice of his and keeps arrangements relatively simple. However, never let such apparent simplicity fool you into believing this is also simple music. The way he digs deeply into the one woman's complicated motives during "Rain in Durango" quickly puts that notion to rest. »»»
My Favorite Picture of You. CD review - My Favorite Picture of You.
Guy Clark has already written a lifetime of songs - Desperadoes Waiting for a Train, L.A. Freeway, Homegrown Tomatoes, A Nickel for the Fiddler - that have been recorded by folks from Rita Coolidge and Ricky Skaggs to Rodney Crowell. On his first studio album in four years, Clark, with his consummate artistry, paints more vivid word pictures on a broad canvas. Joined by his long-time guitarist Verlon Thompson, as well as Bryn Davies on bass and cello, Shawn Camp on guitar, mandolin and banjo, »»»
This One's For Him A Tribute to Guy Clark CD review - This One's For Him A Tribute to Guy Clark
A notable gathering of alt. country dignitaries celebrate Texas singer/songwriter Guy Clark's recent 70th birthday with this 2-disc collection. Willie Nelson takes a turn on one of Clark's best known tunes with the often covered Desperados Waiting For A Train, which Nelson himself recorded with The Highwaymen. Fellow Highwayman Kris Kristofferson contributes Hemingways' Whiskey, which serves as the title track with the lines "Sail away, sail away, as the day grows dim/ Live »»»
Editorial: Walking the talk – When names like Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Waylon and the Hag are invoked, you're talking hard core country. These are the touchstones of country , the guys who made country music what it was and still is (or maybe can be). When these folks would sing about being down-and-out and the rough-and-tumble, they knew of what they were singing about. Fast forward a few years to the country singers of today. »»»
Concert Review: Carlile takes her chances on feeling "Blue" – During a rare moment sitting at the piano and appropriately dressed in blue, Brandi Carlile paraphrased a memorable Joni Mitchell quote. Basically, it went that, if you listen to Joni Mitchell music and only picture Mitchell - but not yourself - something is wrong. While Carlile, who performed Mitchell's "Blue" album in its entirety for... »»»
Concert Review: The Head and the Heart go beyond the nah nahs – "Nah nah," "la la" and "Wee oh" populated a number of songs from The Head and the Heart. Yes, the Seattle-based band does pen a good amount of sing-along songs that were clearly designed that way. And while that style can certainly engage and energize a crowd, there was more to that from the sextet.... »»»
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