Award-winning historian Frye Gaillard was one of the first music writers to take note of Nashville songwriter Guy Clark, who died yesterday after a long illness. Frye remembers Clark in this tribute:
With sadness, I take a few moments to add my voice to what will soon be hundreds of others lamenting the passing of Guy Clark, one of Nashville’s finest songwriters. I still remember like it happened yesterday the night in 1975 when I wandered into the Exit Inn in Nashville and saw Guy Clark as an opening act. I had never heard of him. Neither had anybody else. But on this night he sang the songs from his soon-to-be released debut album, “Ol’ Number One,” and there’s never been a better record in the history of country/Americana music. I had the honor of writing about Guy Clark in my first book, Watermelon Wine: The Spirit of Country Music, trying to capture and explain the power of his lyrics — the exceptional empathy, sensitivity, and compassion they contained. Then and now, I understood that I was coming up short. But that was okay because soon enough people were listening to the songs themselves, and Clark became an Americana icon. Rest in peace, old friend. Thank you for those good conversations.
Watermelon Wine is available from NewSouth Books or your favorite bookstore.