262 of 264 people found the following review helpful
on November 29, 2011
I review music for a living, so I hear a lot of good tunes all the time. For my money, "This One's For Him" is the best CD of 2011. The artists who contributed to this collaboration brought their A-games to the studio to honor Clark, the dean of Texas music, who turned 70 last month.
Sorry this review is so long, but since everyone did such a good job, I think they should each get a mention.
Fellow Texan Rodney Crowell kicks things off with a solid cover of "That Old Time Feeling," followed by Lyle Lovett's brilliant turn on the 3/4 time "Anyhow I Love You." Both Crowell and Lovett gave smooth and polished performances at the tribute show in Austin on Nov. 2, with Lovett taking time to credit Clark with jumpstarting his career.
"Without Guy Clark, there would have been no Lyle Lovett," he said. "Before he even met me, he was telling everyone about my demo tape."
Shawn Colvin's sly "All He Wants is You" will make you rethink Clark's crusty image. At the show, Colvin said, "I think Guy Clark is sexy," and from the audience's reaction, they agreed.
Shawn Camp, Clark's longtime friend and fellow musician, does double duty on the CD, playing backup and laying down Clark's ode "Homeless." I dare you to listen without thinking about current economic conditions.
Ron Sexsmith covers "Broken Hearted People," while Roseann Cash delivers a hearfelt "Better Days."
Willie steps up to the plate for "Desperados Waiting for A Train," breathing new life into the Clark classic.
Rockabilly legend Rosie Flores wails on "Baby Took a Memphis," hitting some great guitar licks. Her performance at the tribute show was so much fun. Everything Flores touches turns torchy ... in a good way.
One of the CDs highlights is Kevin Welch's delivery of "Magdalene." Try to find a quiet moment when you listen to the song the first time. Welch takes Clark's lyrics about a restless wanderer and transforms it to one of the most powerful love songs ever written. Seriously.
Suzy Boggus handles the sadness of "Instant Coffee Blues" with subtle gentleness.
At the concert, Texas outlaw Ray Wylie Hubbard turned "Homegrown Tomatoes" into a full blown sing-a-long and I can't listen to this cut without wanting to join in.
Certainly the CD's most emotional moment comes from John Townes (JT) Van Zandt's cover of "Let Him Roll." At the show, JT paid tribute to Clark, saying, "My dad and Guy were best friends. My dad was quick burning. Guy was stable and dependable. He was a lot of things my father wasn't."
Ramblin' Jack Elliott, himself a subject in one of Clark's tunes ("Cold Dog Soup") went to the studio to cover "The Guitar," a talking song written by Clark and his long-time touring buddy, Verlon Thompson. Shawn Camp's mandolin work on this cut is amazing.
For me, the CD's most powerful cut is James McMurtry's cover of "Cold Dog Soup." It's the perfect blend of Clark's genius lyrics, telling the real story of life on the circuit, along with McMurtry's world weariness and the ghost of Townes Van Zandt, Clark's best friend of 35 years. I drove 5 hours one way to hear McMurtry do it at the tribute show and would do it again. For Texas music fans, it just doesn't get any better. I hope this one gets a nod at Grammy time.
Youngster Hays Carll was the perfect choice to cover, "Worry B Gone." Enough said.
Texas legend Joe Ely brings honesty to his arrangement of "Dublin Blues," one of Clark's most famous tunes. Again, perfect casting. I can't think of anyone else (but Clark himself) who could have done this one.
John Prine and Emmylou Harris have never sounded better than in "Magnolia Wind." It will make you want to fall in love again. I promise.
Steve Earle, who Clark mentored and toured with for many years, will make the hair stand up on the back of your neck with the hard-hitting "Last Gunfighter Ballad."
Verlon Thompson, Clark's long-time touring partner and best friend, lovingly handles "All Through Throwing Good Love After Bad." Thompson says the song hits close to home and he loved doing it. It shows.
Another powerful moment comes from Terri Hendrix's brilliant interpretation of "The Dark." It's a celebration of the night and of surviving bad times. Brava.
You might have thought Clark's long-time buddy Jerry Jeff Walker would have covered "L.A. Freeway," but Walker closes the CD, so Radney Foster was tapped to record Clark's most famous song. It works. Very well.
Patti Griffin's interpretation of "The Cape" proves her complete understanding of a never-say-die attitude.
Kris Kristofferson begins his cut, "Hemingway's Whiskey" with a brief story but funny story of a close encounter with Papa ... and then proceeds to sound exactly like a glass of the golden liquid. I think time will prove this tune is one of the best things Clark has ever penned.
Gary Nicholson, Darrell Scott and Tim O'Brien take turns singing the verses to the raucous "Texas Cookin'." You'll be tapping your toes and craving chicken fried steak by the end.
Jack Ingram rocks "Stuff That Works." At the tribute show, he brought the house down and gained some new fans.
Country superstar Vince Gill played guitar the first time Clark recorded "The Randall Knife," so it's fitting that he laid down this one for the CD. I don't think anyone will mind that his beautiful voice is used for talking instead of singing.
Fellow Texas Robert Earl Keen delivers one of his best performances on "Texas 1947." By the time he's finished telling the story of "fast rolling streamline ... screaming straight through Texas like a mad dog cyclone," you can see the train and feel it going down the tracks.
Terry Allen helps wind up the 2-CD set with a tender rendition of "Old Friends." It's a rare glimpse into the heart of Clark, who may appear gruff on the outside, but in reality, is a full blown sentimentalist when it comes to the ones closest to him.
It's said that "She Ain't Going Nowhere" is Clark's favorite. The song is handled with great care by a young group of women calling themselves "The Trishas." These girls have a bright future ahead of them. Their harmonies will give you chills.
The CDs close out with a new song, "My Favorite Picture of You," a love song about Clark's wife, Susanna, written especially for Jerry Jeff Walker to record.
When Clark called Walker to tell him about the tune, he said, "This may be my best one yet." Indeed.
It's the perfect ending to the perfect collection of Guy Clark songs ... produced by the amazing Tamara Saviano and performed by gifted artists who truly appreciate Clark's contributions to the world of great stories, told to music.
"This One's For Him" really is the best thing I've heard in a long, long time. Kudos to everyone involved. Here's hoping it wins everything come award season.
56 of 58 people found the following review helpful
"THIS ONE'S FOR HIM: A TRIBUTE TO GUY CLARK"
(Icehouse Music, 2011)
It's hard to imagine anyone more deserving of a top-flight tribute album than country-folk composer Guy Clark, who started his career in the early 1970s as one of the young turks of the Texas outlaw-folkie scene and has stood for decades as one of Americana's leading lights.
The wealth of this talent on this 2-CD set is nothing short of astounding, folks like Rosanne Cash, Rodney Crowell, Steve Earle Joe Ely, Emmylou Harris, Lyle Lovett, and Willie Nelson, just to name a few. The roster is impressive, but so is the fact that so many of these artists are longtime friends and fans of Clark and his songs; leading this list is Jerry Jeff Walker, another Texas-indie icon whose version of "LA Freeway" was a signature song of the Americana scene before it had a name. As with many tribute records, one wonders how the interpretations will stack up next to the originals, and in song after song, they nail it. Clark's own recordings are so deeply etched in our minds they take on an almost mythic feel, but here they breathe anew, with long-familiar lyrics revealing new meaning and nuance, the craftsmanship of Clark's songwriting emerging from the shadow of his brooding, taciturn charisma.
Some highlights include former Top 40 star Suzy Bogguss with an evocative version of "Instant Coffee Blues," Jack Ingram's "Stuff That Works" and Ray Wylie Hubbard's jovial spin on "Homegrown Tomatoes." Old-timer Ramblin' Jack Elliott summons himself up for a superior rendition of "The Guitar," while John Townes Van Zandt II adds a new layer of sorrow and glory to "Let Him Roll," one of Clark's best-known songs, an old-geezer ballad that takes on extra resonance when sung by the son of one of Clark's old, hippie-era cohorts. Some of the songs will send chills down your spine: Terri Hendrix tackles the eerie, spiritually-themed "The Dark," while Vince Gill owns "The Randall Knife" and Terry Allen delivers an excellent, grainy-textured rendition of "Old Friends." Special mention should go to songwriter Shawn Camp, who plays guitar on nearly every track, providing a thread that sews together this impressive, compelling collection. Highly recommended, either as a new spin on old favorites, or as an introduction to one of the finest songwriters of the last fifty years. (DJ Joe Sixpack, Slipcue Guide To Country Music)
22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on December 31, 2011
Is there anyone anywhere who's a better songwriter than Guy Clark? This is music that's fundamentally human, will strike chords with anyone anywhere, by artists who are the all the best at what they do. Down home in sentiment, cosmopolitan in universality. Thanks Guy.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on January 14, 2012
There are two characteristics that define a song as a classic. First, there must be a timeless quality that renders it unmoored to the era it was written in. In other words, even if written thirty years ago it should still sound fresh, relevant. Second, it lends itself to interpretation by many singers; its not solely identified with the writer's version or voice. There are writers in every genre who have written songs we now consider classics. In rock there's Lennon and McCartney. In folk, Bob Dylan. Tin Pan Alley has Irving Berlin, and country music has Hank Williams.
If Americana has emerged as it's own bona fide genre then the king of this form would have to be Guy Clark. And one need look no further than the splendid new collection of his songs, performed by friends and admirers, to see the impressive body of work that meets the criteria for "classic".
This One's for Him: A Tribute to Guy Clark is a marvelous gathering of both some of his best known, & lesser known, songs reinterpreted by a who's who of Americana artists. Rodney Crowell, Lyle Lovett, Willie Nelson, Kevin Welch, Rosanne Cash, Ramblin' Jack Elliot, Joe Ely, Emmylou Harris, John Prine, Steve Earle, Radney Foster, Patty Griffen, Kris Kristofferson, Vince Gill, Robert Earl Keen, Jerry Jeff Walker, Verlon Thompson, Darrell Scott, Tim O'Brien and others! Many, even most, of these artists find a way to take Guy's song and re-imagine it so as to make it their own. And when it's done well, and many are done well indeed, the classic quality in his writing comes through. But what is also made undeniably clear here is both the profound quality, and quantity, of his work. Though they aim for more, many songwriters would be happy to have one or two songs they could call home runs. The quality and consistency of Guy Clark's writing, demonstrated on this CD, reveal an artist who arrived hitting home runs from the very beginning and continues in his most recent efforts to knock 'em out of the park. One might conclude something like, "does this guy write anything but classics?"
That said, there are a couple interpretations here that don't reach the high water mark but they're easily forgiven since even the less satisfying efforts are at least good, while so many versions here are just plain great. Another quibble here is the absence of other artists who deserve a place on a recording like this (Nancy Griffith, Buddy Miller, Lucinda Williams come to mind) but, to be fair, that may require a third CD and we are already offered a generous two CD set.
This collection confirms what I've said in other reviews: Guy Clark is the best songwriter in America today. A big statement, perhaps, given that we are in a time blessed with many good writers. In fact, many of the best writers are on this CD to pay tribute to the Writer's Writer. No small compliment there. But they know that no one is better at capturing in three or four verses the novel that each each person's life. His attention to the little details that define a life, or a moment passing, is unsurpassed. He is masterful at creating characters that you immediately know and invest in. And while he may not give a happy ending you can count on Guy telling a story, much like his pal and mentor Townes Van Zant would, that is honest, compelling and well told. I'll say it again: Guy Clark is the best songwriter working in America today and I'll stand on Steve Earle's coffee table in his cowboy boots and say that! And this gorgeous Tribute record is a testament that I might not be the only person that thinks this way about Guy Clark.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on January 27, 2012
This is the type of record that doesn't come along often. You take wonderful, underappreciated songs, and you have them sung by the who's who of modern, acoustic American music, in front of stellar musicians who play with obvious love for their undertaking.
If you like Guy Clark, you probably already have this one. But if you like the music of even one of these performers, you should really give a serious listen to this record, because the music of Guy Clark colors the music of each one of these artists. Each performer makes his/her/their song sound like they wrote it themselves. When you consider that people like Steve Earle, Willie Nelson and the rest have written a decent tune or two on their own, that really says something about the songwriting talents of the esteemed Mr. Clark.
This is a trifecta- brilliant songs, like-they-mean-it singing, and not a bad note played by anyone. A real treat.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on January 19, 2012
Having been a Guy Clark fan since the 70s, this one is great. The artists who sing Guy's songs are a whos who of my favorites. John Prine, Emmylou Harris, Willie, McMurtry, Hayes Carll ect. Buy it, you will love it!
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on January 15, 2012
I am familiar with most of the songs that are presented here. Only two were, I thought, over-produced.
"That Old Time Feeling",and "Anyhow, I Love You". "Desperados Waiting For A Train", Willie simply must change the
rhythm of those words so he can put his personal stamp on them, I like his nylon string guitar work, though. Anyone who has never been exposed to Guy's music before owes it him (or her)self to seek out Guy's own versions after hearing this tribute. Lots of similarities, and even more contrasts. Instrumental work was great, especially Verlon Thompson on guitar, and Shawn Camp on everything that he chose to play. Other standouts are LLoyd Maines on dobro, and Rosie Flores on electric guitar. Vince Gill was born to do "Randall Knife". I think I actually seen him do that one on "Austin City Limits" along with another song that's not included on this tribute, "Rita Ballou". The liner notes say that he actually played guitar on the original recording of "Randall Knife" so there is definitely a kinship there. Kris Kristofferson performs "Hemingway's Whiskey" like it had been written for him! Robert Earl Keen is right at home doing "Texas 1947". Also very impressed with Joe Ely's "Dublin Blues", and Verlon Thompson's "Throwing Good Love After Bad". Steve Earle is a natural for "The Last Gunfighter Ballad". All of these performances, I am sure, are going to grow on me with repeated listening.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on May 30, 2012
Received this CD as a gift, and loved it so much I've ordered it twice more to give to other people as gifts. I didn't think I'd listened to much Guy Clark before, but I never knew how many of those old favorites I grew up with were written by him. Even if you already know him well, I think you will love these artists' interpretations of his music. I love every cut included in this collection.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on March 20, 2012
This one's a no-brainer. Recorded nicely, excellent work by all. A gem. It will warm your house and your heart.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on February 4, 2012
Very much enjoyed these songs. What a great song writer and what great performances. One of my best purchases. There is not one song on this CD I didn't enjoy listening to.