The septuagenarian troubadour Guy Clark presents another masterclass in understated excellence with these simply played tunes that capture, for example, the delight of a country waltz or the tender reminiscence of a recently departed and adored wife. The latter tribute is the album’s title track and recalls Guy’s beloved Susanna whose Polaroid picture is the focal point of the album cover, a snap taken in the 1970s as she stormed off having found Guy and great friend Townes Van Zandt together, very drunk – you never left but your bags were packed, just in case...there’s a fire in your eyes, you got your heart on your sleeve, curves on your lips...all I can see is, beautiful...a stand-up angel who won’t back down. Such loving reflection and wisdom is presented, at varying levels [*], throughout all ten self and part-penned tracks, including fifth Heroes that demonstrates Clark’s storytelling candour as he sings of a returned Iraqi war veteran, its familiar but nonetheless apt portrayal of the cruel ironies of such ‘heroic’ status avoiding cloying patriotism, yet it still honours and respects the commitment and sacrifice made. It’s a view that has the grace and objectivity of many other preceding American singer-songwriters, and which Clark continues with consummate ease.
* The blues infused I'll Show Me is 'wise', perhaps, in its wittier observations - I'm all decked out with my slack britches on: don't get lucky, man there's something wrong....!
My review of the brilliant tribute album to Clark This One's For Him can be read here.