Cowboy Jack Clement

Guess Things Happen That Way

BY David McPhersonPublished Dec 1, 2004

Cowboy Jack Clement once said, "I’ve got a bunch of people who say I’m a genius. That don’t make me a genius. But you’ve got to be pretty smart to get all them people to say that on cue.” The reality is that even the word genius does not do this music maverick justice. As a producer, Clement has made masterful records for the likes of Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Charley Pride and U2, but that’s just one side of this cowboy’s success story. Possessing a voice that’s pure country and western, Clement’s also a prolific songwriter as Guess Things Happen That Way illustrates. Twenty-six years since his debut album, the 73-year-old country crooner returns with a dozen prairie songs that show why he’s a member of the Nashville Songwriter’s Hall of Fame. The disc features backing by Cowboy’s Ragtime Band and collects a bunch of Clement classics, some of his favourite covers, and a few new songs. The disc opens with a countrified take on the Rolling Stones’ "No Expectations.” New songs include "Every Place I’ve Ever Been” and "Trapped in an Old Country Song.” The most haunting moment though is the title track. First written in 1958, and a major hit for Cash, Clement coaxed an ill Man in Black several years back to muster up the strength to record this song with him. The sound that these two legendary voices of country create here together is enough to fill a glass full of tears.

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