Guy Clark, a songwriter whose ballads have been made famous by country music legends like Johnny Cash and Ricky Skaggs may be 71, but he’s still going strong. He just released a new album called, “My Favorite Picture of You” and some time soon the Academy of Country Music is planning to honor him with its “Poet’s Award” (love that title!). This isn’t all that surprising when you consider that Guy may be a songwriter, but he cites Dylan Thomas and Larry McMurtry as his favorite wordsmiths.
Born in West Texas, Guy is widely known as a “country music poet,” so it’s no wonder that his new album is brimming with cowboy ballads filled with the storytelling lyrics that are his hallmark. Though he’s written a wide-ranging flotilla of songs for famous country singers, for most of his life, he’s marched to the beat of his own drum instead of trying to figure out what other people wanted to sing or what was going to be a hit with country music listeners.
As Guy puts it, “I just quit wasting my time thinking about it because the best work always comes from writing for yourself: Writing stuff you know about rather than ‘What would George Jones like?'”
Along with the willingness to dig deep to find stories that matter and can be captured in songs, Guy also knows he has to keep pushing himself as an artist: he can’t rest on his laurels. “I’m glad that I raised the bar to some extent, if in fact, I did. But you can’t live on that every day. You have to reinvent yourself the next day. You have to write as good and continue to do so. And that gets harder.” Bravo, Guy. Write on!