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Without Getting Killed or Caught: The Life and Music of Guy Clark

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Winner, 2016 the Belmont Book Award, Sponsored by the International Country Music Conference For more than forty years, Guy Clark wrote and recorded unforgettable songs. His lyrics and melodies paint indelible portraits of the people, places, and experiences that shaped him. He has served as model, mentor, supporter, and friend to at least two generations of the world’s mo Winner, 2016 the Belmont Book Award, Sponsored by the International Country Music Conference For more than forty years, Guy Clark wrote and recorded unforgettable songs. His lyrics and melodies paint indelible portraits of the people, places, and experiences that shaped him. He has served as model, mentor, supporter, and friend to at least two generations of the world’s most talented and influential singer-songwriters. In songs like “Desperados Waiting for a Train,” L.A. Freeway,” “She Ain’t Going Nowhere,” and “Texas 1947,” Clark’s poetic mastery has given voice to a vision of life, love, and trouble that has resonated not only with fans of Americana music, but also with the prominent artists—including Johnny Cash, Ricky Skaggs, Jerry Jeff Walker, and others—who have recorded and performed Clark’s music. Now, in Without Getting Killed or Caught: The Life and Music of Guy Clark, writer, producer, and music industry insider Tamara Saviano chronicles the story of this legendary artist from her unique vantage point as his former publicist and producer of the Grammy-nominated album This One’s for Him: A Tribute to Guy Clark. Part memoir, part biography, Saviano’s skillfully constructed narrative weaves together the extraordinary songs, larger-than-life characters, previously untold stories, and riveting  emotions that make up the life of this modern-day poet and troubadour.


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Winner, 2016 the Belmont Book Award, Sponsored by the International Country Music Conference For more than forty years, Guy Clark wrote and recorded unforgettable songs. His lyrics and melodies paint indelible portraits of the people, places, and experiences that shaped him. He has served as model, mentor, supporter, and friend to at least two generations of the world’s mo Winner, 2016 the Belmont Book Award, Sponsored by the International Country Music Conference For more than forty years, Guy Clark wrote and recorded unforgettable songs. His lyrics and melodies paint indelible portraits of the people, places, and experiences that shaped him. He has served as model, mentor, supporter, and friend to at least two generations of the world’s most talented and influential singer-songwriters. In songs like “Desperados Waiting for a Train,” L.A. Freeway,” “She Ain’t Going Nowhere,” and “Texas 1947,” Clark’s poetic mastery has given voice to a vision of life, love, and trouble that has resonated not only with fans of Americana music, but also with the prominent artists—including Johnny Cash, Ricky Skaggs, Jerry Jeff Walker, and others—who have recorded and performed Clark’s music. Now, in Without Getting Killed or Caught: The Life and Music of Guy Clark, writer, producer, and music industry insider Tamara Saviano chronicles the story of this legendary artist from her unique vantage point as his former publicist and producer of the Grammy-nominated album This One’s for Him: A Tribute to Guy Clark. Part memoir, part biography, Saviano’s skillfully constructed narrative weaves together the extraordinary songs, larger-than-life characters, previously untold stories, and riveting  emotions that make up the life of this modern-day poet and troubadour.

30 review for Without Getting Killed or Caught: The Life and Music of Guy Clark

  1. 4 out of 5

    Nicholas Kopsian

    If you know Guy Clark’s music this is an essential read. If you don’t know Guy Clark’s music, what’s wrong with you? Don’t you like music? This biography of Clark is an deep look into the life of one of the best songwriters ever. He is a fascinating and complicated man. I thought after reading this that someone could write a whole separate book on the relationships between Guy, his wife Suzanna, and Towns Van Zandt. I suggest you have some of Guys’ music handy as this book will make you want to l If you know Guy Clark’s music this is an essential read. If you don’t know Guy Clark’s music, what’s wrong with you? Don’t you like music? This biography of Clark is an deep look into the life of one of the best songwriters ever. He is a fascinating and complicated man. I thought after reading this that someone could write a whole separate book on the relationships between Guy, his wife Suzanna, and Towns Van Zandt. I suggest you have some of Guys’ music handy as this book will make you want to listen to him.

  2. 5 out of 5

    R.J.

    When Guy Clark died last month, Tamara Saviano was in the final stages of a multi-year biography project about the singer/songwriter. Thank god. The book hits shelves on Oct. 18 and digs deep into the life of one of the most influential artists you've probably never heard of. His songs are better known as hits for other people, including Jerry Jeff Walker, Jimmy Buffett, Johnny Cash... and most everybody else. Rich in interviews with Guy and his wife Suzanna, Steve Earle, Lyle Lovett, Vince Gill When Guy Clark died last month, Tamara Saviano was in the final stages of a multi-year biography project about the singer/songwriter. Thank god. The book hits shelves on Oct. 18 and digs deep into the life of one of the most influential artists you've probably never heard of. His songs are better known as hits for other people, including Jerry Jeff Walker, Jimmy Buffett, Johnny Cash... and most everybody else. Rich in interviews with Guy and his wife Suzanna, Steve Earle, Lyle Lovett, Vince Gill and others, the book details the hard-scramble life of the singer as he moved from Texas to Los Angeles and eventually to Nashville. The life experiences that formed the songs, etc., set against the backdrop of the shifts in country music during the 70s, 80s and 90s (countrypolitan, the outlaw movement, the urban cowboy phase, the rise of Garth, etc.). It's also an interesting chronicling of the weird, triangular love story of Guy, Suzanna and Townes Van Zandt. Rising out of the same Texas dirt that gave us Willie Nelson, Billy Joe Shaver, Robert Earl Keen and others, Guy Clark is the genuine article, and this book captures that. It's raw and unapologetic -- just like Guy.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Maurice

    Tamara Saviano spent years working on her biography of Guy Clark, and the result is a book worthy of the great songwriter. There is a tremendous amount of research behind the book: many hours spent with Guy, his wife Susanna, Rodney Crowell, and many others who worked with Guy over the years. There are many insights into Guy's writing process and influences. Saviano dives deeply into exploring his relationships with Susanna Clark and Townes Van Zandt, and she doesn't shy away from the uncomforta Tamara Saviano spent years working on her biography of Guy Clark, and the result is a book worthy of the great songwriter. There is a tremendous amount of research behind the book: many hours spent with Guy, his wife Susanna, Rodney Crowell, and many others who worked with Guy over the years. There are many insights into Guy's writing process and influences. Saviano dives deeply into exploring his relationships with Susanna Clark and Townes Van Zandt, and she doesn't shy away from the uncomfortable moments. The ending, which takes us past Guy's death to the subsequent celebrations of his life, is poignant. Highly recommended.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Colin

    Fans are scary beasts. My first Bruce Springsteen concert - relatively recently - left me with that distinct impression. These people REALLY love Bruce. I mean REALLY love him. That know-what-he-has-for-breakfast sort of love. But being a fan does that to you. You enter by the music and fall into so much more. I’m not sure it’s that you really are interested in the intricacies of an artist’s life. It’s just that music is so special and precious and mysterious. So when someone makes music in such Fans are scary beasts. My first Bruce Springsteen concert - relatively recently - left me with that distinct impression. These people REALLY love Bruce. I mean REALLY love him. That know-what-he-has-for-breakfast sort of love. But being a fan does that to you. You enter by the music and fall into so much more. I’m not sure it’s that you really are interested in the intricacies of an artist’s life. It’s just that music is so special and precious and mysterious. So when someone makes music in such a way that it becomes part of you, ingrained into the minutia of your own life, it’s sort of instinctive to want to balance the books, somehow drill into the life of the artist whose music has drilled into yours. The thing is, music is magic. There is no secret door back down into a song. You’re stuck on the surface, in the real world. And where music is made is the place inhabited by parking tickets, throat infections, divorce, mortgages... Music happens in the performance, the captured recording, on the stage, in a moment. The story of a musician is the ocean surrounding tiny, idyllic islands of song. They’re made of different stuff. No matter how sublime the music, what life could hope to match up with a treasured, masterfully written, memory-embedded song? I’m a fan of Guy Clark. I write some songs that consciously or unconsciously sound like him (in the same way a quick sketch might look like Mt Everest.) His songs inspire and enhance, inflame imagination with lyrics that hit you like a bucket of cold water, or a hug, or a vivid dream, again and again. I’m a fan. A biography of Guy Clark is an irresistible prospect. I woke up this morning with a Guy Clark song running through my head. Since reading this book, I’ve actually not listened to any Guy Clark albums. That speaks to the immersion that’s taken place in the course of walking through Tamara Salviano’s account of the life of Guy. And as the author admits early in the piece, the life of Guy by implication entwines itself around his wife and muse, Susanna, and his friend and compatriot, songwriter Townes Van Zandt. The book is competently written, clearly meticulously researched and rich - at times a little too rich - with detail. Getting a picture of the life behind the songs is fascinating. Clark’s early academic success, his exceptional natural ability to work with his hands, his pathway into music, the false starts and hard slogs - this is the paydirt of a musician’s biography and I wasn’t disappointed. I recently read a biography of sorts (“Chappo” by David Mansfield) which left me feeling like friendship with ones subject may in fact hamper a biographer’s work. The obvious trap would be to guild the lily, gush and flatter and leave out the messy bits. In “Chappo”, Mansfield doesn’t do that. But he plays to a smaller audience by including too much detail, too many names, a bit too much of the same thing in similar places. Friends can’t help themselves. Sometimes - in a competent, journalistic way - Saviano includes just too many details, too many venues, too many names. I think it’s her closeness to the whole community of US Americana Music that compels her not to edit these more keenly. There is a rich cast of contributors whose presence and significance and insight into in the Guy Clark story is well explained, well-placed and well-paced. Just sometimes I feel like this book as a gift to those people closest to events makes it slightly harder going for the rest of us. But that’s a small criticism really. Does this book drag you through? Absolutely. Is the story fascinating, at times outrageous, bewildering, enlightening? No question. Does Guy Clark emerge as demigod on a divine pedestal? Certainly not. The flaws, failures and foibles are plain to see. And the Holy Trinity of the story - Guy, Townes and Susannah - might all have lived longer and better lives with a bit more substance restraint. The book is an unintentional advertisement for not smoking tobacco and pot and doing drugs and drinking, despite most characters maintaining a tone of invincibility until each of these remarkable people rot away from their excesses. Would we have all the songs and paintings and insights and stories if they’d all lived clean? Probably not. Can the life of a poet tell a story as rich as “The Randall Knife” or “The Cape” or “Indian Head Penny”? It’s mighty unlikely. Great poetry transcends to live its evergreen life, a dove launched from the temporal out of the hands of the landlocked poet. The one thing I don’t enjoy about biographies is that I know how they all end. Mortality spoils every story. But this book is fascinating, especially to a fan. You want the life of a hero laid out? Well here it is. It’s a satisfying read. It’s really good. I’d recommend it, especially to fans of great songwriting - even if you’d never heard of Guy Clark. It’s just, once you’ve heard a song like, say, “The Dark”, whose life - even its very creator’s - could possibly match up?

  5. 5 out of 5

    Brandon Barrett

    I've been eagerly waiting for this book since I first heard it was in the works a couple of years ago. I was not disappointed, the book was fantastic. Tamara Savanio did a great job of interviewing those who knew Guy Clark best and combining that into a thorough biography of a great songwriter. I would have imagined Guy would be difficult to interview but it's clear that the author and he had a good rapport which made the book much more interesting. I highly recommend this to any fan of Guy Clar I've been eagerly waiting for this book since I first heard it was in the works a couple of years ago. I was not disappointed, the book was fantastic. Tamara Savanio did a great job of interviewing those who knew Guy Clark best and combining that into a thorough biography of a great songwriter. I would have imagined Guy would be difficult to interview but it's clear that the author and he had a good rapport which made the book much more interesting. I highly recommend this to any fan of Guy Clark, and I suspect anyone who isnt a fan, will be one by the end of the book.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Erik

    Thank you, Tamara Saviano, for writing what will stand as the definitive biography of Guy Clark (and also of Susanna Clark and Townes Van Zandt). I have new-found respect for Clark's songs, after reading the stories detailed in this book. I've always thought he is one of America's greatest songwriters, so I was pleased to read that his contemporaries think so too. Thank you, Tamara Saviano, for writing what will stand as the definitive biography of Guy Clark (and also of Susanna Clark and Townes Van Zandt). I have new-found respect for Clark's songs, after reading the stories detailed in this book. I've always thought he is one of America's greatest songwriters, so I was pleased to read that his contemporaries think so too.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    This is an excellent biography of a talented singer-songwriter. I wish there were more about his process of songwriting, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading where some of the songs I love have their history. Highly recommended to fans of biography, as well as Guy Clark.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Rick Wright

    Great biography of one of my favorite American singer songwriters - Guy Clark.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Donna

    Without a doubt, this is the best biography of a musician/artist/songwriter I have ever read, and I've read quite a few. There is no question that Tamara Saviano knew and loved Guy Clark. She treats the story of his life and music with utmost respect and yet doesn't varnish any truths about his life, his marriage to Susanna, or his friendship with Townes Van Zandt. Having grown up in Houston myself, I loved the references to all of Guy's ties to our city and to Texas in general, many of which ar Without a doubt, this is the best biography of a musician/artist/songwriter I have ever read, and I've read quite a few. There is no question that Tamara Saviano knew and loved Guy Clark. She treats the story of his life and music with utmost respect and yet doesn't varnish any truths about his life, his marriage to Susanna, or his friendship with Townes Van Zandt. Having grown up in Houston myself, I loved the references to all of Guy's ties to our city and to Texas in general, many of which are special to me, as well. Tamara took such care to authenticate everything she wrote, and she included multitudes of photos, lyrics, interviews with Guy's family and the many musicians with whom he co-wrote, befriended and mentored over the years. By the time I finished this book, I felt like I knew Guy intimately myself. I also loved learning tidbits that I would never have known otherwise, such as the fact that Guy married his first wife in my childhood church, and that Susanna was born in a tiny Texas town where some of my family has lived for many years. Of course, those are personal references that others may not relate to, but they endeared me to the story of his life, and I'm sure there are enough other facts about his life included that anyone who reads the book will be fascinated as well. It's very well-written and kept me interested throughout. To be honest, I had the book for several months before I actually read it. I don't know how to explain that, as I was dying to get into it; I'd heard nothing but positive feedback on it. I think I was so afraid I was going to get part-way through it and not pick it up again because it wouldn't be as good or detailed as I wanted it to be. Sadly, I've done that with other books about musicians. I didn't need to worry. Once I started reading it, I was hooked. I did read it slowly, however. I didn't rush through it or skim over anything. I absorbed this book. I will probably read it again. No, I'm sure I will. It was so interesting and so chock full of insight into the kind of person that Guy was, that my heart actually hurt after I finished it, knowing that even though I probably heard him play in Houston or Austin when I was young, and I love so many of his songs, I'll never get to meet him in person. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves Guy Clark's music and the music of other singer-songwriters, or just to anyone who wants to read a compelling story about the music scene and the evolution of Americana music in Texas and Nashville from the 60's to the present.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Brian Johannesen

    This is a good book for anyone to read. If you're a fan of Guy Clark, and I am a huge fan, it was an excellent read. A fitting tribute to a giant. This is a good book for anyone to read. If you're a fan of Guy Clark, and I am a huge fan, it was an excellent read. A fitting tribute to a giant.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Wcrocket

    Good book As a fan of Guy Clark’s music I enjoyed learning more a about him. I can’t help but think he would still be with us if he had been more concerned about his health.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    Wonderful expose Good look at Guy Clark. Need to read again, as he aimed to be a poet and artist. His songs and his collaboration is so inspiring. Glad to read it. Well written.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Tharen

    Thorough telling of Guy Clark's life, although the recitations of concerts performed and touring was a bit dry at times. We saw him when he came to the Beachland Ballroom in the early aughts, which was mentioned in the book. Guy's evolution as a songwriter, his negotiations with the music industry to do things his way, and the info on the start of the Americana movement was fascinating as were the stories behind many of the songs. But what stood out was his work as a mentor and collaborator with Thorough telling of Guy Clark's life, although the recitations of concerts performed and touring was a bit dry at times. We saw him when he came to the Beachland Ballroom in the early aughts, which was mentioned in the book. Guy's evolution as a songwriter, his negotiations with the music industry to do things his way, and the info on the start of the Americana movement was fascinating as were the stories behind many of the songs. But what stood out was his work as a mentor and collaborator with so many songwriters and musicians over the years. Saw one of them last night on the Americana Awards paying tribute. Steve Earle performed "Desperados Waiting for a Train" and it was a perfect follow-up to finishing the book.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    I had a strange and beautiful dream last spring (Early April). I was at a small outdoor gathering under a tent (my grandmother had passed the previous week and the service was graveside so maybe that is context)... anyway... I sang "Dublin Blues" and Guy sang and played guitar with me. After I finished, he embraced me and would not release me... like a father or grandfather... he whispered words I can't remember but that I do know were deeply encouraging and spoken with deep affectiion. We both I had a strange and beautiful dream last spring (Early April). I was at a small outdoor gathering under a tent (my grandmother had passed the previous week and the service was graveside so maybe that is context)... anyway... I sang "Dublin Blues" and Guy sang and played guitar with me. After I finished, he embraced me and would not release me... like a father or grandfather... he whispered words I can't remember but that I do know were deeply encouraging and spoken with deep affectiion. We both wept. I awoke from the dream with a most amazingly wonderful sense of gratitude and peace. I never met Guy Clark... but I still endeavor to write a song he might like.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Dan Russell

    I enjoyed reading this book about the legendary Texas songwriter Guy Clark. It was well written and gave me a good picture of the man and his music. He touched a lot of people and the stories of his friends are very prominent in these pages. Most notably, his friendship with the great songwriter Townes Van Zandt comes alive. You could tell these guys loved writing songs and being friends. I have been listening to their music all week.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Bob Schriever

    Without knowing it, I have been a Guy Clark fan for years. I've heard his songs done by other artists, only after he died did I listen to him. This book is a must read for any fan. Well written, detailed, it is a great insight into one of the best songwriters that ever came out of Texas or anywhere else for that matter. Read the book, listen to his music, let the little movies that his songs really are play out in your mind. Right now I have to go find my cape. Without knowing it, I have been a Guy Clark fan for years. I've heard his songs done by other artists, only after he died did I listen to him. This book is a must read for any fan. Well written, detailed, it is a great insight into one of the best songwriters that ever came out of Texas or anywhere else for that matter. Read the book, listen to his music, let the little movies that his songs really are play out in your mind. Right now I have to go find my cape.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jason Clarke

    This is a great personal telling of Guy Clark's story. I've always admired his songwriting. I really like the way Ms. Saviano spends time talking about Guy's collaboration with many other songwriters. His way of finding a way into their stories to dig out the songs is pretty cool. "Well, then. Let's write about that." This is a great personal telling of Guy Clark's story. I've always admired his songwriting. I really like the way Ms. Saviano spends time talking about Guy's collaboration with many other songwriters. His way of finding a way into their stories to dig out the songs is pretty cool. "Well, then. Let's write about that."

  18. 5 out of 5

    Rj

    For all fans of Guy Clark and Nashville, TN, a must read. This book was my best read of 2016. It is in many ways a love story, telling tales of love for art, music, and most of all how everyone interviewed for the book loved Guy. A wonderful celebration of the life of a true poet and American Treasure.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Chris Neill

    Great book - Guy is a legend. Everything about his life was enthralling. Especially interesting to read about his artistic integrity in butting heads with the mainstream country music establishment, and the rise of roots/americana music. Lots of good material about Townes too, as an added bonus.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Mark Williams

    Fascinating look into the life and mind of one of the most original characters of modern times.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Tony Sannicandro

    I've been a fan of Guy Clark since the early 70's. Any fan of Guys would love this book. It's a honest look, warts and all at one of the greatest song writers of all time. I've been a fan of Guy Clark since the early 70's. Any fan of Guys would love this book. It's a honest look, warts and all at one of the greatest song writers of all time.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Dave

    Beautifully written. Wonderful biography of the great songwriter. Couldn't ask for more! Beautifully written. Wonderful biography of the great songwriter. Couldn't ask for more!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Neal McGrath

    For any biography to be truly great it needs to transcend it's subject;i've read dozens and dozens of music biographies over the years,and after a while they all take a similar tack:once you've read a few,you've read em' all. As with everything else,there a exceptions to every rule;and thankfully this beautiful book by Tamara Saviano is one of them.Whilst ostensibly about the life of legendary Texan songwriter Guy Clark,this book hits even bigger targets:whilst describing Clark's journey from the For any biography to be truly great it needs to transcend it's subject;i've read dozens and dozens of music biographies over the years,and after a while they all take a similar tack:once you've read a few,you've read em' all. As with everything else,there a exceptions to every rule;and thankfully this beautiful book by Tamara Saviano is one of them.Whilst ostensibly about the life of legendary Texan songwriter Guy Clark,this book hits even bigger targets:whilst describing Clark's journey from the cradle to the grave it cannot-it seems-help but become much more. As the book progresses and we hear more and more about Clark's own methodology for writing and we come into contact with the seemingly innumerable plethora of talented artists in his orbit,we soon realise that the book is as much a holy text for what it takes to be a true and sincere artist as it is a biography of a musician;for despite the humour and drunken shenanigans the one thing every character in the book takes seriously is their art. Also running through the book is the great love story between Guy and Susanna;soul mates,whose relationship in real life was as tempestuous as the lives of the characters in their songs but always the love remained. And over it all lays the shadow of the mercurial,enigmatic genius of Townes Van Zandt(Everywhere:from the art,the blues,the alcohol and substance abuse-even the relationship of Guy and Susanna themselves);the tortured soul who's songs set the benchmark for everyone(even Guy himself) to try to match. It was him they orbited and perhaps it was his,seemingly inevitable early death that started the beginning of the end for Guy and Susanna: "We all got holes to fill Them holes are all that's real. Some fall on you like a storm, Sometimes you dig your own." Nethertheless,by the end of the book-whether you were a fan of Guy before hand or not ,at it's conclusion you will wish-like the author was herself-you were let into Guy's workshop;that other world were artists gathered,songs were created and the laughter,wine and Marijuana smoke flowed freely. His kindness and drive to help others create and to respect art itself is something that resonates deeply long after the last page is turned.

  24. 5 out of 5

    A W

    I’m very happy that Saviano wrote this book about one of my all-time favorite songwriters and performers. That said, it’s not a well-written book. The life of Guy Clark is better than a novel, but here it is related as dry documentary. Too much attention is given to mundane things to the neglect of much more important things. The triangular relationship between Guy, his fascinating wife Susanna, and the brilliant but enigmatic Townes Van Zandt is a major thread, but in an almost superficial way. T I’m very happy that Saviano wrote this book about one of my all-time favorite songwriters and performers. That said, it’s not a well-written book. The life of Guy Clark is better than a novel, but here it is related as dry documentary. Too much attention is given to mundane things to the neglect of much more important things. The triangular relationship between Guy, his fascinating wife Susanna, and the brilliant but enigmatic Townes Van Zandt is a major thread, but in an almost superficial way. That story is fascinating as Grecian myth, but I left with as many questions as answers. This is also a missed opportunity to completely tell the story of the moveable feast of 1970s Nashville. In so many ways, this magical time is the country music version similar to expats in Paris in the 1920s. The characters of this magical time are named and some of their motivations are identified, but the vibe just didn’t come across as vividly as it should. Lack of appropriate structure is mostly to blame. The bones of the narrative are based on chronology, which is appropriate, but the book would have benefited had theme and philosophy given them better shap Major, major transitions were simply mentioned in passing: Susanna’s sister, who is dating Guy, commits suicide and then—next thing we know—Guy and Susanna are a couple. How did that happen? Didn’t they find that complicated? And how did they explain this to themselves? I’m grateful for this book as it is almost alone in giving me greater insight into this fascinating couple and their eventful times. But I still don’t feel that I walked on Music Row in 1975, or that I fully understand how Susanna came to love both Guy and Townes so deeply, and how Guy really felt about all that.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jon

    I've been a Guy Clark fan since I first heard Jerry Jeff Walker sing "Desperadoes Waiting for a Train." That was quite some time ago. I was saddened by his death and sorry I only got to see him perform once, again almost 30 years ago. Reading this book it's so easy to connect his songs, particularly the early ones, to his life. Maybe this is too much of a fan's homage and not so much a journalistic biography, but it's a must for fans of one of Texas' best-ever songwriters. The impact of his work I've been a Guy Clark fan since I first heard Jerry Jeff Walker sing "Desperadoes Waiting for a Train." That was quite some time ago. I was saddened by his death and sorry I only got to see him perform once, again almost 30 years ago. Reading this book it's so easy to connect his songs, particularly the early ones, to his life. Maybe this is too much of a fan's homage and not so much a journalistic biography, but it's a must for fans of one of Texas' best-ever songwriters. The impact of his work is kind of masked by the focus on Clark's activities, so you don't get the sense of how broadly his songs were recorded, when in time, for instance, he went from struggling to being comfortable because of how widely his work was picked up by others. So I would've preferred a little more high-level overview, a little less "guy did this, Guy did that." But the emotional impact when he and his wife pass is hard to ignore.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Cory

    Incredible book. Beautifully written and brutally honest. Saviano weaves the music of Guy Clark with the growth and birth of Americana Music, as both shaped the broader category of Country Music. Highly recommend! Personal note: I was fortunate to see Guy Clark about a dozen years ago. I’m a huge Lyle Lovett fan and a friend of mine was a big fan of John Hiatt. So when we heard Lovett and Hiatt were doing a show with Joe Ely and some other guy, we were pretty excited. “Some other guy”, of course, Incredible book. Beautifully written and brutally honest. Saviano weaves the music of Guy Clark with the growth and birth of Americana Music, as both shaped the broader category of Country Music. Highly recommend! Personal note: I was fortunate to see Guy Clark about a dozen years ago. I’m a huge Lyle Lovett fan and a friend of mine was a big fan of John Hiatt. So when we heard Lovett and Hiatt were doing a show with Joe Ely and some other guy, we were pretty excited. “Some other guy”, of course, turned out be Guy Clark. Neither of us had heard of him at that point, but we both walked out of that concert amazed by what we’d just witnessed. And I’ve been listening to his music ever since, increasingly in awe of his talent.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Patressa Kearns

    This is a loving yet honest portrait of one of the world's greatest-ever songwriters. Saviano makes it clear from the get-go that she is a Guy Clark fan, but she also makes clear the fact that Clark asked her to be honest in her writing; Clark didn't hold anything back and he asked Saviano to do the same. What emerges, then, is a sweet yet very human -- read: warts and all -- story of a smart, creative, giving, flawed (aren't we all?), unusually gifted artist. This book was written and, I believ This is a loving yet honest portrait of one of the world's greatest-ever songwriters. Saviano makes it clear from the get-go that she is a Guy Clark fan, but she also makes clear the fact that Clark asked her to be honest in her writing; Clark didn't hold anything back and he asked Saviano to do the same. What emerges, then, is a sweet yet very human -- read: warts and all -- story of a smart, creative, giving, flawed (aren't we all?), unusually gifted artist. This book was written and, I believe, published before Clark's death in May 2016. There is an epilogue, though, that includes the account of Clark's passing and various memorial services and celebrations. I loved this book. I am a huge Guy Clark fan, so that's saying something (I think).

  28. 4 out of 5

    Herzog

    Overall, this was a very well done book. As nearly all music books, I find it frustrating to discuss the music in such great detail and not have a ready listening list available. It should really have been included as part of the book. I also found the extensive quoting of lyrics in the actual text distracting. If you want to include it as an appendix, that would be fine and, certainly, some quoting in the actual text, but, to me, it was overdone here. Those quibbles aside, Ms. Saviano did the m Overall, this was a very well done book. As nearly all music books, I find it frustrating to discuss the music in such great detail and not have a ready listening list available. It should really have been included as part of the book. I also found the extensive quoting of lyrics in the actual text distracting. If you want to include it as an appendix, that would be fine and, certainly, some quoting in the actual text, but, to me, it was overdone here. Those quibbles aside, Ms. Saviano did the music world a great service in researching this book and providing all the first-hand insights from herself and others into Guy Clark.

  29. 5 out of 5

    W.W. McNeal

    A very well written, reverent bio of one our greatest songwriters. Ms. Saviano has done a great job in capturing the spirit of Guy, Susanna and many of their closest friends, including Townes Van Zandt, Rodney Crowell, Roseanne Cash, Emmylou Harris and many more. Guy's integrity comes through, shining like a diamond. His relationship with Susanna and Townes is portrayed respectfully and honestly, which was quite a task. This is a must read for Guy Clark fans and for those who value poetry and mu A very well written, reverent bio of one our greatest songwriters. Ms. Saviano has done a great job in capturing the spirit of Guy, Susanna and many of their closest friends, including Townes Van Zandt, Rodney Crowell, Roseanne Cash, Emmylou Harris and many more. Guy's integrity comes through, shining like a diamond. His relationship with Susanna and Townes is portrayed respectfully and honestly, which was quite a task. This is a must read for Guy Clark fans and for those who value poetry and music.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jill

    Saviano's trustworthiness and subsequent friendship with the literally towering Texas singer-songwriter makes this combo biography/memoir/music history lesson intimately accessible and astoundingly honest. Guy Clark would have had it no other way. The Guy Clark/Susanna Clark/Townes Van Zandt unholy trinity is presented here as a three-way love affair, encompassing love in its prismatic manifestations, with all the rough edges intact. Essential for fans, and an eye-opening assessment for those le Saviano's trustworthiness and subsequent friendship with the literally towering Texas singer-songwriter makes this combo biography/memoir/music history lesson intimately accessible and astoundingly honest. Guy Clark would have had it no other way. The Guy Clark/Susanna Clark/Townes Van Zandt unholy trinity is presented here as a three-way love affair, encompassing love in its prismatic manifestations, with all the rough edges intact. Essential for fans, and an eye-opening assessment for those less familiar with Guy Clark's work.

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