The Arka Tech

Clark paints soul with ‘My Favorite Picture of You’

“My Favorite Picture of You,” released in 2013, is Guy Clark’s most recent album, and one of his best. Done as a tribute to his wife, Susanna, who passed away in 2012, the album reflects Clark’s emotions and leaves him with nowhere to hide.
The album cover says it all — Clark in the black and white background, holding a faded color photograph of Susanna, which had been taken after getting frustrated with Clark and late friend Townes Van Zandt. This is what Clark describes as “My Favorite Picture of You.”

The title track is a deeper explanation of not only that photograph but the love shared between Clark and his late wife.
The album opens with “Cornmeal Waltz,” a fun, slow dance tune. Clark’s raw acoustic accompaniment, featuring seasoned musicians like Verlon Thompson and Shawn Camp, an Arkansas native and producer, allows the songs to breathe.
Clark’s voice has become rougher, and his guitar playing has slowed down. His songwriting, however, has aged like the finest wine. Every line stands on its own as a powerful, creative statement.

“Hell Bent on a Heartache,” co-written with respected modern songwriter, Chris Stapleton, whose wife, Morgane, provided background vocals on select tracks, is one of the most diverse songs in Clark’s cataloge, combining great lyrics with an almost acoustic rock edge.

There’s plenty of social commentary on this album, with songs like “El Coyote,” a song about illegal immigrants who are robbed and left stranded to die, and “Heroes,” a song about a soldier returning from war and facing the reality of what he’s been through.

In a 2010 interview with “Gear Wire,” Clark said he believes he’s become a better writer, and he doesn’t settle for the same kinds of songs that he did in his early years.

“Rain In Durango” and “Good Advice” are reminiscent of Clark’s material from the late 90s and early 2000s, on albums such as “Cold Dog Soup” and “The Dark.”

“The Death of Sis Draper” is the sequel to “Sis Draper,” co-written by Clark and Camp. The song paints the final days of the fiddle player, while using the melody from the bluegrass standard, “Shady Grove.”

In an unexpected move, Clark covered a Lyle Lovett song, “Waltzing Fool.” Clark’s version of the song is one of the highlights of the album. “It’s a waltz to a woman, who’s lying beside him. It’s a waltz to a face on the wall when she’s gone.” The song seems as if it were written for Clark.

The album closes with “I’ll Show Me.” Though not the strongest song on the album. It’s a laid-back, Saturday-night song, which is a staple of Clark’s writing.

While doing interviews for the album, Clark mentioned that he was far from finished. However, with his health problems, he’s been forced to cancel performances and has been off the radar since the album’s release. It’s rumored that a documentary about Clark’s life will be filmed later this year for a future release. While Clark assured fans there would be more music, there’s a chance that this album might be the last, and with that in mind, it makes every song that much deeper.

“My Favorite Picture of You” is available in stores and online. For more information, visit www.guyclark.com