Quantcast
Advertisement
 Email

 First Name

 Last Name

 Company

 Country
CAPTCHA code
Captcha: (type the characters above)

LIVE NATION SET TO REBOUND—AND SCORE
Rapino predicts a robust future. (5/7a)
iHEART'S IN REVENUE RECOVERY MODE
Digital's drive time. (5/6a)
TRILLER, SOUNDCLOUD LAUNCH PLATFORM INTEGRATION
A heartwarming virtual hook-up (5/6a)
A ZHU-PHORIC NIGHT
Vaxxed and masked, Nicole ventures out. (5/6a)
BROADWAY REOPENS THE BOX OFFICE
The Great White Way begins to repopulate. (5/6a)
RHYTHM, BLUES AND THE FUTURE
The musical tapestry we know as R&B.
WHO'S NEXT?
Predicting the next big catalog deal.
JUST THE VAX, MA'AM
Once we all get vaccinated, how long before we can party?
WORLDWIDE GROOVE
How is globalization bringing far-flung territories into the musical mainstream?
Music City
GUY CLARK’S LEGACY CELEBRATED AT THE RYMAN
8/18/16

By Holly Gleason

“Imagine a three-hour show where not one song sucked,” host Vince Gill half-joked, half-challenged the sold-out crowd inside the Ryman Auditorium Tuesday (8/16). “Well, tonight, because these are the songs of Guy Clark, it’s going to happen.”

Clark, the seminal song crafter who died in May, stood as a standard for songwriters, country stars in the know and any aspiring Americana hopeful. During the course of the tribute, 20 legends, new guarders and insider favorites—with a strong lean on the Texas songwriters Clark defined—took the stage to honor their friend, peer and inspiration.

Starting with a sunny “LA Freeway” by Jerry Jeff Walker, the evening saw Gill bounce through “Rita Ballou,” Emmylou Harris deliver a heartbreaking “Immigrant Eyes,” Gillian Welch & Dave Rawlings take “Dublin Blues” to another dimension and Ricky Skaggs with The Whites reprise his breakthrough #1 “Heartbroke,” while current supernova Chris Stapleton with wife Morgane offered a soulful version of “Hell Bent on a Heartache.” A three-way songwriters’ round played Steve Earle offering “The Last Gunfighter,” against Ramblin’ Jack Elliot bringing “Old Shep” —the night’s lone non-Clark song —and over to Sam Beam taking the post-gig “Out in the Parking Lot” to celestial places.

Texas’ presence was strong: Joe Ely delivered a regal but urgent “Magdalene,” while fellow old guarder Terry Allen spoke of finding his dog shot—and Clark suggesting they write about it for “Queenie’s Song.” Later Jack Ingram delivered a slow building “Desperadoes Waiting for a Train” bringing the second half’s first climax, followed closely by Robert Earle Keen’s stoic “Let Him Roll” and “Texas 1947,” which lured Lyle Lovett from the wings.

Stories were told, songs rendered with love and enough brio to honor the man who penned “Hemingway’s Whiskey.” Indeed, Lovett prefaced his rendition of Clark’s first song— “Step Inside This House” —by explaining the iconic writer had championed his songs and passed around his demos a year before they met. Then he brought Harris back for a the downtrodden “Anyhow, I Love You.” In some ways, the names the general public didn’t know—Shawn Camp with a spicy “Sis Draper,” Angaleena Presley’s tart “Cheer Up, Little Darling,” especially longtime tourmate Verlon Thompson, who was on early with the tender tale of masculine possibility “The Cape” and closed with an affirming benediction “Old Friends” that faded into a wistful harmonica solo from Willie Nelson vet Mickey Raphael—who exemplified the night. Each embodied Clark’s belief talent is its own reward.

Talent and friendship. To the venerable Clark, that’s all there was. If early champion Bobby Bare’s romping “New Cut Road” helped launch Clark’s career in Nashville, organizer/music director Rodney Crowell pulled his best friend Gill in for a rousing “She’s Crazy for Leaving,” followed by a contemplatively minimal “Stuff That Works.” 

On Tuesday night, kids too young to have known Old No. 1, Texas Cookin’ and South Coast of Texas, and old hippies who remember the man who provided Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings with songs that became classics were one. For a man who suffered no fools, loved any crazy dreamer and created music to an almost unattainable standard, the collected singers—including a finale cadre of Delbert McClinton, Kimmie Rhodes, Kevin Welch, Gary Nicholson, Radney Foster and Bill Lloyd on “Texas Cookin’”—were the tip of the iceberg of admirers, but those old friends did as the song promised “shine like diamonds.”