This One's For Guy Clark, Americana's Craftsman Lyle Lovett, Hayes Carll, Patty Griffin and more pay tribute to Clark on a new double album.
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This One's For Guy Clark, Americana's Craftsman

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This One's For Guy Clark, Americana's Craftsman

Review

Music Reviews

This One's For Guy Clark, Americana's Craftsman

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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Singer-songwriter Guy Clark is a key figure in alternative country music. In the 1970s, his Nashville home was a center of creativity, where musicians gathered to trade songs and stories. Clark turned 70 this year, and dozens of his friends and admirers are now saying thanks on a double CD, called "This One's for Him: A Tribute to Guy Clark."

Critic Meredith Ochs has our review.

MEREDITH OCHS, BYLINE: Guy Clark is Americana's craftsman, a storyteller who carves songs out of quiet moments and marginal characters whose simple rhymes convey complicated lives. Raised in West Texas, he soaked up blues, folk and Mexican music along with a wonderfully skewed view of the human condition. Clark finds beauty in imperfection, though Lyle Lovett's cover of this song is about as perfect as it gets.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "ANYHOW I LOVE YOU")

OCHS: The key to producing a great tribute album lies in assigning the songs to the singers, and the ones here are well-matched. Most of the artists hit the precarious balance between honoring the original work, and making it their own. It all sounds as natural as the picking parties at Guy Clark's house in the 1970s - from the iconic Willie Nelson, who riffs on Clark's timeless "Desperadoes Waiting for a Train," to next-generation outlaw Hayes Carll, whose offbeat sensibility suits this song:

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "WORRY B GONE")

OCHS: This double disc leans on languid tempos, and omits a good deal of the success that Guy Clark enjoyed when mainstream country acts took his songs to the top of the charts. But Clark fans will appreciate the circle drawn by this tribute, from Radney Foster's excellent reading of "L.A. Freeway," a Clark classic made popular by Jerry Jeff Walker; to a brand-new song that Clark wrote during the making of this tribute, which he asked Walker to sing.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MY FAVORITE PICTURE OF YOU")

OCHS: Guy Clark has received a lifetime's worth of honors and awards for filling his songs with vivid character sketches, eerie fatalism, and love that never dies. But his dark humor is rarely far from the surface. It's one of the keys to his endurance as a songwriter and performer, and no doubt one of the central reasons he's so beloved by the impressive group of artists on this tribute.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HOMEGROWN TOMATOES")

SIEGEL: The double CD is called "This One's for Him: A Tribute to Guy Clark. Our reviewer, Meredith Ochs, is a D.J. and talk show host for SiriusXM Radio.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HOMEGROWN TOMATOES")

SIEGEL: This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News.

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