Born in November of 1941 in Monahans, Texas, Guy Clark began playing music on a Mexican guitar he purchased for $12. His first songs were sung in Spanish, though he later moved on to Houston and the sounds of Texas blues. His career took off during the “folk scare” in the 1960s, when he played in traditional folk tunes. In the late 60s, he moved to Los Angeles, where he signed a publishing agreement with RCA’s Sunbury Music. In 1971, he settled into Nashville, Tennessee.
In the next two years, country-folk singer and songwriter Jerry Jeff Walker released two compositions of Clark’s songs, “L.A. Freeway” and “Desperados Waiting for a Train.” The two songs have been argued as setting the tone for the musical revolution of progressive country, later known as the Outlaws. For these songs and others, Clark was inspired by the poems of Robert Frost and Stephen Vincent Benet, Clark. In 1975, he signed with RCA Records, releasing “L.A. Freeway,” “Desperados Waiting for a Train,” “Texas, 1947,” “Instant Coffee Blues,” “Rita Ballou,” Let Him Roll,” and others critically applauded songs.
Legend Johnny Cash was one of the first among many who embraced Clark’s musical style. He graced the charts with his renditions of songs like “Texas, 1947” and “The Last Gunfighter Ballad.” Bobby Bare, the famed songsmith, made it to the Top 20 with “New Cut Road,” while, the same year, Ricky Skaggs mixed in his bluegrass style with Clark’s “Heartbroke” for a Number One hit. Other artists who have taken Clark’s songs and excelled with them include Vince Gill, the Highwaymen, John Conlee, Steve Wariner, Asleep at the Wheel, Jimmy Buffett and Brad Paisley.
In 2006, Clark’s album Workbench Songs was nominated at the Grammy Awards for Best Contemporary Folk/Americana Album. Clark has released over twenty albums, three Top 100 singles, including two Top 50, and is known to make guest appearances at the Grand Ole Opry.
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