Texas native Guy Clark will be in concert on Saturday, Sept. 20, at the Kenneth Threadgill Series in Greenville.
Courtesy Photo

Troubador Guy Clark brings unique song stylings to Greenville Sept. 20

By TERRY MATHEWS, News-Telegram Arts Editor

August 27, 2008 - Legendary singer-songwriter Guy Clark is coming to Greenville on Saturday, Sept. 20, as part of the Kenneth Threadgill Series. Sharing the bill with Clark will be Terri Hendrix and Max Stalling.

The Kenneth Threadgill Concert Series was named for the Greenville native and Austin music legend and restauranteur, and is held in the historic municipal auditorium in downtown Greenville.

Earlier this year, the Threadgill Series hosted Western Swing legends Asleep at the Wheel and Johnny Gimble.

Clark, a native Texan who now calls Nashville home, brings more than 40 years of musical storytelling experience to the stage.

He's toured with Jerry Jeff Walker and Townes Van Zandt, and counts Willie Nelson among his many friends. His songs, including "L.A. Freeway," "Desperados Waiting for a Train" and "Boats to Build" have been covered by Walker, Vince Gill, the Highwaymen, John Conlee, Steve Wariner, Lyle Lovett, Alan Jackson, Asleep at the Wheel and Brad Paisley - and that's perfectly all right with Clark.

"It's really nice when other people do them," Clark explained in a recent telephone interview. "It's the way I make a living. The songs are out there to be done."

Clark began his journey into the music business during high school when Lola Bonner, the woman who practiced law with his father, gave him a $12 Mexican guitar.

In the 1960s, when he started playing club dates and getting serious about his music, Clark says "it was mostly the folk scene."

It was during this time that he began his long-standing personal and professional relationship with Van Zandt, considered by many to be one of the most original voices in music.

"We were best friends for about 35 years," Clark said. "His use of the language was special. He did quality work. He played and sang really well, too. And he was the funniest guy I've ever known."

Van Zandt often stayed with Clark and his wife. His much publicized battle with alcohol and drugs ended with his death in 1997.

"I loved what he wrote," Clark said. "And he liked what I did. It was a good match."

Clark's songs tell stories. Whether he's writing about little boys who jump off the garage, building boats or Cinco De Mayo in Memphis, his songs leave a lasting impression, even if they are, as Clark says, "not exactly dance tunes."

Asleep at the Wheel recently covered Clark's "The Cape," on their CD, "Reinventing the Wheel."

"I saw Ray [Benson - AATW's founder and front man] in Texas and he said he had done it," Clark said. "But I haven't heard it yet."

Both Alan Jackson and Jimmy Buffett have covered "Boats to Build." Buffett also put "Cinco de Mayo in Memphis" on this latest CD.

"The last time I saw him, he said, 'Man, I did your song, but I?had to Buffettize it," Clark explained. "That's what he does."

Clark not only writes songs, he also builds guitars. When he was starting out, he worked in guitar shops and built them in the Dopyera Brothers' Dobro factory. He still builds guitars when he can find the time.

Clark was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Foundation's Hall of Fame in 2004. He was honored with the Americana Music Association's Lifetime Achievement Award for Songwriting in 2005. "Workbench Songs" (see sidebar at left) was nominated for a Grammy award as Best Contemporary Folk/Americana Album in 2007.

The busy musician was forced to slow down a few months ago when he broke his leg in a "silly household accident."

"I spent three months on crutches," he said. "So I worked on a bunch of unfinished songs."

Writing songs is the reason Clark stays busy, playing about 80 dates a year.

"I got no reason to sit here and write songs unless I'm going out playing for the folks," he explained. "I got no reason to play for the folks unless I've got new songs. The trick is in finding the balance."

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Tickets for Clark's show are on sale now, ranging from $20 - $30 prior to the show and $25 to $35 the day of the show. Tickets are available at Cavender's, www.frontgatetickets.com or by calling 888-512-7469.

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