Review : Various Artists - This One’s For Him, A Tribute to Guy Clark
PopmattersGuy Clark is the pre-eminent Texas singer-songwriter. Along with his old friend Townes Van Zandt, Clark has influenced every Lone Star notable from Jerry Jeff Walker to Lyle Lovett to Willie Nelson to James McMurtry to Terry Allen to Ray Wylie Hubbard to Rosie Flores to Robert Earl Keen to Joe Ely to Terri Hendrix to Jack Ingram to Hayes Carll – all of whom appear on this tribute album. But Clark’s inspiration goes further than the state border. He’s been a guru to the likes of Steve Earle and Rodney Crowell, a colleague of Emmylou Harris, John Prine, Roseanne Cash, Vince Gill, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Kris Kristofferson, and Darrell Scott, all of whom also appear on this double CD. If the aforementioned names make you salivate in anticipation, you won’t be disappointed. All of the musicians take their job seriously. They cook up heapin’ helpings of fine Texas music, which is only proper as they pay homage to the man who wrote one of the best food songs ever written: “Texas Cooking”.
Darrell Scott sings it here, accompanied by Tim O’Brien and Gary Nicholson. They’ll get you droolin’ over such dishes that might not normally tempt you, such as armadillo, fried okra, and cabrito (baby goat). Clark’s lyrics make you happy just listening to the menu as you can almost hear the smile on his face as he sits down to eat. Scott and company pick and strum, but make sure the words are clear so you know what’s for dinner. Clark has written other Hemingwayesque songs about the simple pleasures of food and drink, including one called “Hemingway’s Whiskey”. Kristofferson takes that one on here, and the man known for having a limited vocal range does the song justice, as he phrases lines about the liquid as being “warm and smooth and mean / even when it burns / it’ll always finish clean” with a raw and thirsty feeling.
But Clark writes about more than comestibles. He writes bitter songs about life on the street (“Homeless”), surreal tall tales (“Cold Dog Soup”), historical ballads (“Texas, 1947”), stories about growing up (“The Cape”), the importance of friendship (“Old Friend”) about leaving the past behind (“L.A. Freeway“), smoking dope (“Worry B Gone“), the vagaries of romance (“All Through Throwing Good Love After Bad”), and about the generation that came before him (“Desperadoes Waiting for a Train”). All of these songs are wonderfully covered here by a talented cast of characters....full text
ClatlWhat, no Sheryl Crow? Seriously, the tribute album became an albatross a few years back, jumping the shark with the market flooded by far too many undeserving and uninspired products. A little time away from the fad, and lo and behold, here comes a real keeper. To Americana fans, Guy Clark is the definitive singer/songwriter, a master craftsman that penned some of the most powerful, literary, romantic, and darkly humorous tunes in the modern era. Produced by Clark's pickin' buddy Shawn Camp and independent publicist Tamara Saviano, This One's For Him contains 30 of Clark's perfectly constructed musical jewels, done with real love and admiration. The list of performers is a who's who of alt-country, with a slew of Clark's "students" — Rodney Crowell, Lyle Lovett, Steve Earle — and several legends including Willie Nelson, Vince Gill, and Emmylou Harris. There's not a weak cut in the lot, and finally, here's a tribute that actually emulates the quality of the recipient...full text
BlurtFive words immediately come to mind with the arrival of this long-overdue tribute to one of America's most remarkable songsmiths, those words being "What took so damn long?" Every performance on this excellent 30-song, two CD set reflects the wrenching emotions that are instilled in every one of Guy Clark's compositions. These tattered narratives praise hard-luck losers, reluctant heroes, hapless dreamers and desperate individuals trying to make sense of the bittersweet circumstance they've been handed. Indeed, Clark's the archetypical Everyman wrapped in alt-country trappings, a brilliant songwriter who's both literate and austere. The song titles best express the subdued sentiments - "Homeless," "Broken Hearted People," "Desperados Waiting for a Train," "She Ain't Going Nowhere" - each being a banner for some weary proverb.
To the producers' credit, they match these heart-wrenching ballads with singers who fully do them justice. Willie Nelson's settles comfortably into the forlorn optimism of "Desperados Waiting for a Train," while Shawn Camp's "Homeless" is as gut-wrenching as the subject implies. Joe Ely finds an ideal fit with the quiet reflection of "Dublin Blues," just as Radney Foster gently taps into the dampened defiance of "L.A. Freeway." Patty Griffin and Vince Gill deftly mine the tender trappings that accompany two of Clark's most evocative ballads - "The Cape" and "Randall's Knife, respectively - and in the process, make them their own....full text
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