Guy Clark: My Favorite Picture Of You

Written by July 29th, 2013 at 9:43 am

guy clark

Guy Clark
My Favorite Picture Of You
(Dualtone)
Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5 stars

Since Clark’s first studio set in four years arrives after the 2012 death of his wife Susanna of 40 years, you’d expect this to be a melancholy affair. And you would be correct, at least to the extent that many of Clark’s compositions radiate an underlying despair even in their more upbeat moments.

Although he records less frequently these days, Clark is arguably Texas’ most respected, consistent and affecting troubadour, and that’s saying plenty. His songs beautifully articulate the frustrations, desires and hopes of proud blue collar Americans with the class, respect and understanding that comes from being one of them. His storytelling abilities are in full bloom on this wonderful eleven song collection with titles such as “Rain in Durango,” “El Coyote” and “Death of Sis Draper” setting an appropriately dusky mood even before you hear a note.

Cover Story: Guy Clark And The High Price Of Inspiration

The 71-year-old Clark’s voice is a gruff yet tender and weathered instrument, perfect for being the narrator of these tales, some universal and some like the title track about the photograph of his late wife that adorns the disc’s cover, intimately personal. The multi-talented Bryn Davies adds cello to a handful of tracks, ramping up drama on songs that already exude ample doses of it.

The majority of selections are co-written with others, including longtime friend Rodney Crowell and co-producer Shawn Camp. But this is classic Guy Clark in every respect, from its simple, often sparse backing instrumentation to the fine-tuned lyrics and the rootsy, acoustic music they ride on.

The critical tendency is to cut veterans like Clark a break on new work due to their longevity and legendary status. But this terrific batch of songs needs no such handicap to be recommended as a perfect way for newcomers to start a musical relationship with Clark’s burnished Americana or for existing fans to continue theirs. Hal Horowitz

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