Steve Earle Pays Tribute To Songwriting Hero Guy Clark On Latest Project

Steve Earle is paying homage to his songwriting mentor and longtime friend, the legendary Guy Clark, with his latest album GUY. Set for release on March 29 on New West Records, the 16-song set is comprised of songs written by Clark and was produced by Earle and recorded by his longtime production partner Ray Kennedy.

The project is also a cornucopia of guests, with fellow Guy Clark cohorts Emmylou Harris, Rodney Crowell, Terry Allen, Jerry Jeff Walker, Mickey Raphael, Shawn Camp, Verlon Thompson, Gary Nicholson, and the photographer Jim McGuire all contributing. It also features his latest incarnation of his backing band The Dukes which includes Kelley Looney on bass, Chris Masterson on guitar, Eleanor Whitmore on fiddle & mandolin, Ricky Ray Jackson on pedal steel guitar, and Brad Pemberton on drums & percussion.

Earle first met Guy Clark after hitchhiking from San Antonio to Nashville in 1974, and a few months after his arrival, found himself taking over for a young Rodney Crowell as bassist in Guy’s band.

“Townes Van Zandt and Guy Clark were like Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg to me,” said Earle. “If you asked Townes what it’s all about, he’d hand you a copy of Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee.  If you asked Guy the same question, he’d take out a piece of paper and teach you how to diagram a song, what goes where.”

For Earle, making the record was a tonic of sorts and something he had to do to honor his old friend. “As you live your life, you pile up these regrets. I’ve done a lot of things that might be regrettable, but most of them I don’t regret because I realize I couldn’t have done anything else at the time. With Guy, however, there was this thing. When he was sick — he was dying really for the last ten years of his life — he asked me if we could write a song together. We should do it ‘for the grandkids,’ he said. Well, I don’t know…at the time, I still didn’t co-write much, then I got busy. Then Guy died and it was too late. That, I regret.” 

GUY will be available across digital retailers, on standard black vinyl, on limited edition blue vinyl available at Independent Retailers, on an extremely limited-to-200 clear vinyl edition available at retailers in Texas & Tennessee, on a limited autographed edition available at Barnes & Noble stores, and on a limited edition red vinyl exclusively available for pre-order now via New West Records.

GUY Track Listing:
1. Dublin Blues
2. L.A. Freeway
3. Texas 1947
4. Desperados Waiting For A Train
5. Rita Ballou
6. The Ballad Of Laverne And Captain Flint
7. The Randall Knife
8. Anyhow I Love You
9. That Old Time Feeling
10. Heartbroke
11. The Last Gunfighter Ballad
12. Out In The Parking Lot
13. She Ain’t Going Nowhere
14. Sis Draper
15. New Cut Road
16. Old Friends

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Hollabaugh, a staff writer at MusicRow magazine, has written for publications including American Profile, CMA Close Up, Nashville Arts And Entertainment, The Boot and Country Weekly. She has a Broadcast Journalism and Speech Communication degree from Texas Christian University, (go Horned Frogs), and welcomes your feedback or story ideas at [email protected]

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