Guy Clark doesn't just write songs, he crafts them with the kind of hands-on care and respect that a master carpenter (a favorite image of his) would have when faced with a stack of rare hardwood. Clark works slowly and with strict attention to detail -- his output has been sparse since he first signed to RCA in the early '70s -- but he has produced an impressive collection of timeless gems, leaving very little waste behind. His albums have never met much commercial success, but the emotional level of his work consistently transcends sales figures and musical genres. He remains the kind of songwriter whom young artists study and seasoned writers (and listeners) admire.
Guy Clark has been a patriarchal figure to many in the Nashville songwriting community for decades. Artists like Rodney Crowell and Steve Earle studied under the watchful eye of Clark during their early years. Like friend Townes Van Zandt before him, Clark is a master storyteller, a dream weaver blessed with the ability to match ear-catching melodies with poetic lyrics that aim for the deepest part of the listener's soul. Somedays the Song Writes You, Clark's eleventh studio album, is a well-crafted collection of compositions that rank among some of his best. Clark's tobacco-and-whiskey-stained voice has never sounded better than it does on such tracks as "The Guitar," a fiery number about a wayward musician and the pawnshop guitar that causes an unexpected awakening in him, and "Hollywood," a slow-grooving cut that takes a sideways look at the world-famous district of Los Angeles, CA. Clark, as he has on previous albums, covers a Townes Van Zandt tune on Somedays the Song Writes You. This time around the singer turns out a dry-throated reading of Van Zandt's graceful "If I Needed You.," Not one to parrot anybody, Clark makes the song his own. "The Coat,," one of many standout tracks on the disc, is a simple reflection on a bad morning -- that comes after a night of drinking and no sleep -- and turns into an even worse day when rain and cold threaten to muddy the main character's mind even more than it already is. Somedays the Song Writes You is another choice album from one of the greatest songwriters to ever come out of the state of Texas.MC