Steve Earle & The Dukes (from the album Guy available on new West Records)
There are undoubtably a number of reasons Steve Earle decided to honor his friend Guy Clark with the recently release tribute, GUY. For Steve, recalled motive that made the most sense as ‘no way I could get out of doing this record. When I get to the other side, I didn’t want to run into Guy having made the TOWNES record and not one about him’. Steve Earle holds both Guy Clark and Townes Van Zandt as mentors. Steve met Guy Clark in Nashville 1974 after hitchhiking to Music City from San Antonio, replacing Rodney Crowell as bass player in Guy’s band. Steve Earle & The Dukes gather a healthy dose of Guy Clark songs, filling GUY with sixteen cuts from the songman’s lengthy catalog.
Beginning the song cycle, GUY opens with first cut “Dublin Blues”, its story written both for, and about, the Roots and Americana music community that has embraced Guy Clark along with Steve Earle & The Dukes. Tunes such “L.A. Freeway” and “Desperadoes Waiting for a Train” have become part of the fabric of the American Songbook, GUY reminding the knack of Guy Clark to write a song that sticks. For Steve Earle & The Dukes, the project was an easy one, Steve sharing ‘we did it fast, five or six days with almost no overdubbing, I wanted it to sound live….when you’ve got a catalog like Guy’s and you’re only doing sixteen tracks, you know is each one is going to be strong’. A mad reel fills the air as Steve Earle & The Dukes sing a song for “Sis Draper”, tell the tale of “Texas 1947”, find a spot where the party never stops “Out in the Parking Lot”, and bring a sea coast sway into “The Ballad of Laverne and Captain Flint”. Other close companions of Guy Clark and Steve Earle join in on the recording of GUY, with Shawn Camp, Mickey Raphael, and Gary Nicholson lending musical accompaniment to the voices harmonizing on “Old Friends” as Emmylou Harris, Jerry Jeff Walker, Terry Allen, Rodney Crowell, and Jo Harvey Allen take a line from the story. GUY nods to the man, a tribute from a band that benefitted from his wisdom while Steve Earle The Dukes remind of a craftmanship of Guy Clark as they travel down the songwriter’s “New Cut Road”, remember “That Old Time Feeling”, and make a present of their homage like the treasures handed down in “The Randall Knife”.
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