Guy Clark Dies at 74
Clark's family confirmed his passing today (May 17) over Facebook, but it's unclear exactly when he died.
Born in the West Texas town of Monahans in 1941, the young Clark grew up living in his grandmother's "13-room shotgun hotel." His obituary notes that the establishment would bring in a number of interesting characters, from pilots and drifters to a "wildcatter named Jack Prigg," who would later figure into one of Clark's signature cuts, "Desperados Waiting for a Train."
Following a turn in the Peace Corps in the mid-'60s, Clark focused on his music career. He'd bounce around between a few cities as a luthier before signing a publishing deal and moving to Nashville in 1971.
Country artist Jerry Jeff Walker would record versions of Clark's "Desperados Waiting for a Train" and "L.A. Freeway," but Clark himself would later record these for his 1975 debut full-length, Old No. 1. The album featured Emmylou Harris, Rodney Crowell and Steve Earle doing backup vocals.
Over his 40-year career, Clark would record for a number of labels, including RCA, Warner Bros., Sugar Hill, Asylum and Dualtone. In 1982, Ricky Skaggs' cover of the songwriter's "Heartbroke" became a No. 1 hit. His final full-length, My Favorite Picture of You, won a Grammy for Best Folk Album of the Year in 2014.
The prolific songwriter has also been covered by countless artists over the years, including Johnny Cash, David Allan Coe, Ricky Skaggs, Ron Sexsmith, Brad Paisley, John Denver, Alan Jackson, Rodney Crowell, the Highwaymen and Kenny Chesney.
His family added that Clark "blazed a trail for original and groundbreaking artists and troubadours including his good friends Rodney Crowell, Jim McGuire, Steve Earle, Emmylou Harris, Joe Ely, Lyle Lovett, Verlon Thompson, Shawn Camp, and Vince Gill."
Clark is survived by his son Travis and daughter-in-law Krista McMurtry Clark, grandchildren Dylan and Ellie Clark, his sisters Caroline Clark Dugan and Jan Clark, and more.
Below, you'll find a few online tributes that have surfaced since the death was announced.
Guy Clark: 1941-2016. Travel safe, old friend. I would not be the songwriter I am if I hadn't sat at your table and learned from a master.— rosanne cash (@rosannecash) May 17, 2016
"...I loved Guy's heart, his humor and his country wisdom. He will be missed. Rest in peace Guy!!" - Ricky Skaggs https://t.co/kgSY1SouvB— Ricky Skaggs (@RickySkaggs) May 17, 2016
Sad to hear about the passing of Guy Clark. I'll never forget the day I wrote with him and him busting out a J the size of a baseball bat.— KACEY MUSGRAVES (@KaceyMusgraves) May 17, 2016
And we lose yet another legend. R.I.P. Guy Clark. ❤️❤️ 2016, the year the music died. pic.twitter.com/wG89I63Q5H— Johnny Knoxville (@realjknoxville) May 17, 2016