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Texas Music Chart History 2010 - 2013

 

Here's a review of all the hits on the Texas Music Chart, the #1's, songs in the Top 5 for each year, and the Top Five songs of the year.  We're looking back at 2010 through 2013, as we head into 2017.

 

 

 


Robert Earl Keen, 2004

 

Roger Creager on Trombone, 2004

 

Jeremy Steding, Halloween, 2014

 

Cody Canada & Family, Halloween, 2013

 

Bart Crow & Katie Key, 2012

 

Brandon Rhyder Fires up the Grill, 2015

 

Bri Bagwell, ZiegFest 2015

 

William Clark Green, Wormy Dog, 2014

 

Wade & Randy, 2014

 

 


 

Best In Texas Covers - Some Faves on the Texas Music Chart Site

 

 Aaron Watson, June 2006

 

 Roger Creager, August 2007

 

Willie Nelson, April 2008

 

Reckless Kelly, June 2008

 

Ray Wylie Hubbard, January 2010

 

Josh Abbott, Rich O'Toole & Bart Crow, March 2010


 

Guy Clark

By Gregory Barr

 

An iconic songwriter whose music has endured for decades and has been passed down effortlessly from one generation to the next, Guy Clark still figures he has more to learn, and he’s up for the challenge.

 

Even when Clark received the 2013 Academy of Country Music Poet's Award earlier this year, his thoughts turned to the songwriting skill of this year's co-winner, the legendary Hank Williams. 

 

“That was something to get that with Hank at the same time,” said Clark, on the phone from his longtime Nashville home. “I never was a real country music fan growing up, and I only came to really appreciate him later in life. Now I understand how hard it is to write as simply as he did to make those songs. It's really tough to do that.”

 

Some of those same thoughts will occur to the latest generation of Texas songwriters with the release of Clarks’ first studio recording in four years, My Favorite Picture of You.  The new CD sets the songwriting bar higher yet. 

 

It's the spare simplicity of the structure and arrangements of the 10 new songs, co-written with Clark's regular posse of collaborators who also play on the sessions, that stand out as a testament to his own skills as a musical poet.

 

The album is filled with picturesque lyrical references to rustic dance halls, rainy days in Durango, beat up Stetsons, and, of course, various indulgences. The songs also feature the disparate collage of characters that Clark envisions when the writing spirit moves him, from a soldier who struggles with the horrors of war upon his return home, to “a little girl dancin' on her daddy's toes,” or a jealous woman who slips poison into a drink in the back room of a bar.

 

Much will be said and written about the title track, a poignant song Clark wrote for his wife of 40 years who died in June 2012. On the CD cover, Clark holds an old Polaroid photo of Susanna, snapped decades ago when she stomped out of the house after coming home to find Clark and his friend Townes Van Zandt in a drunken stupor.

 

The simple minor key melody of the ballad “Hell Bent on a Heartache” illustrates Clark’s knack of creating songs for the ages. I wonder which up-and-coming country music star will use it to help launch a career one day as Ricky Skaggs, Jerry Jeff Walker, Rodney Crowell and others did with Clark’s songs early in their careers.

 

“Hell Bent on a Heartache” is co-written with Morgane Hayes, who sings the duet with Clark, and with Hayes' husband, Chris Stapleton.  The song interlaces the lyrics with a mournful fiddle line, laying out the story of a man hell bent on repeating the same mistakes. “Don't get me wrong, I believe in love; sometimes that's just not good enough,” he sings.

 

For Clark, the song came about when he got out of his comfort zone, the hallmark of an artist looking to push against his boundaries.  “We were sitting around writing one day and Morgane brought it up,” he says.  “It turned out really well. Mainly I was surprised that I could sing it, because it's not really my style.”

 

He doesn't mind that various labels have been slapped on his style over the years.  He was pronounced part of the “Outlaw Country” movement in the 1970s after he moved to Nashville and ran with Van Zandt, Mickey Newbury, Steve Earle and Billy Joe Shaver.  

 

“People seem to have a need to call your music something, to label it. But that's all right,” he says. “It doesn't change the fact that you're enjoying writing those songs. You can call it whatever you want.”

 

Clark admits he has struggled in the past few years, both physically and emotionally, with his bout of lymphatic cancer (now in remission), plus knee surgeries, and the loss of Susanna a year ago. Perhaps those struggles have played out in this latest collection of songs. 

 

In another new song, “The High Price of Inspiration,” Clark summons the spirit of one of the most troubled yet talented Texas troubadours of all, Townes Van Zandt, Clark’s lifelong kindred spirit. “The high price of inspiration always leaves me broken,” Clark sings, “but I keep comin' back for more.”

 

He recalls one time when Van Zandt was staying at his place, and woke up in the middle of the night to write one of his most enduring songs, “If I Needed You,” after it came to him in a dream.

 

“When I listen to his work, it's just brilliant; I don't know any other way to say it,” Clark says. “Certainly he was tortured, to say the least, but at the same time, he had the best sense of humor of anyone I knew, and was one of the smartest.”

 

Clark has said more than once that if he and Van Zandt ever thought they had become lyrical geniuses, they pulled out a book of Dylan Thomas poems to get themselves straightened out.  

 

Wrecks Bell, a Galveston bar owner who played in Van Zandt's band for years and hung out with Clark back in the day, says the two men were equally adept at songwriting, even if they approached their craft from slightly different angles.

 

“Townes was the wordsmith and Clark was the tinkerer,” Bell says. “He's also a guitar builder, so he's also a song builder who crafts them from various parts, and he can craft (songs) so well.” 

 

Clark says the fact that he makes his own instruments has widened his musical boundaries. He's made 14 in all, often using rosewood and spruce, and regularly uses his favorite three or four guitars to create his new music, though his physical ailments have recently prevented him from standing up at his work bench. He describes his guitar-making skills as a combination of good luck and his natural bent for craftsmanship.

 

“It came naturally to me. I was never scared of a guitar, like some people are afraid to even change their own strings,” Clark says. “Once I started playing and singing, writing was the next step, and I enjoyed tinkering with instruments It was always a natural progression for me. The more you'd learn about writing, the more you'd want to learn about (making guitars).”

 

At 71, Clark was finally recognized with the prestigious ACM Poet’s award nearly 40 years after his first album release.  “I really don't differentiate between poems and songs,” he says. “Writing is a process, an art, and when (a song) comes to fruition, it's always been poetry to me.”

 

 

Gregory Barr is a regular contributor to Best in Texas.

 

 

 
 

 


 

 

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