Friday, 27 May 2016

Guy Clark, 1941-2016, an appreciation

Guy Clark was gruff but tender, homespun but poetic. And he was one of the finest American songwriters of the past several decades.

He sang of life’s truths, simple yet eternal. He knew, as well, how to have a rip-roaring good time. Music ain’t nothing if you can’t tap your feet to it.

He influenced a host of others songwriters, including Steve Earle and Rodney Crowell , and he learned from – and traded songs with – his best friend, Townes Van Zandt.

Clark died May 17 in Nashville, at the age of 74, having left an indelible mark on the American songscape.  His hallmarks were honesty and truth, and an avoidance of both artifice and artiness.

The Big Fat Wide Americana Hour, in the show to be posted Saturday, May 28, celebrates the life and legacy of Guy Clark, revelling in his songs – sung by him and by so many others, as well.

He wrote hits –“ L.A. Freeway” and “Heartbroke,” for example. But what is most impressive his his entire body of work. That, and the way his spirit lives on.

Because of his devotion to truth and his lifelong dedication to mercy and music, our country is a better place.

Tune in.  Turn it up. And get those feet tapping. Here it here:

See you there.

Your friend,


Thursday, 19 May 2016

Dylan at 75 -- an appreciation

It is virtually impossible to overstate the influence Bob Dylan has had on American music over the last 50 years.  He holds the copyrights to more than 500 songs – including some of the most famous songs of the modern era.

He started, some thought, as a Woodie Guthrie wannabe, a protest singer. And he was both of those things. When he sang “The Times They Are A-Changing” in the early 1960s, he wasn’t kidding. Huge social upheaval was on the way, in terms of the battle for civil rights, the protests against the Vietnam War, and the rejection of materialism as an end in itself.

But he became so much more. He helped bring blues to modern audicences. He wrote love songs, both bitter and sweet.  And he could be funny as hell.

Bob Dylan turns 75 on Tuesday, May 24. And The Big Fat WideAmericana Hour is taking the occasion to offer a tasty sampling of Dylan’s long career – a whole bunch of of Dylan songs, some sung by the man himself, some sung by those who took inspiration from him.

Join us, beginning Saturday, May 21, for some of the best American music you can hear. And – I hope – for a whole big heck of a lot of fun.

As always, just one piece of advice – turn it up. I mean, crank it!