Arguing the success or failure of a Guy Clark album at this point is like critiquing the aesthetics of an armadillo. The Texas-born, longtime Nashville singer, guitarist and songwriter, who over four decades has written songs recorded by Johnny Cash, Emmylou Harris, Kenny Chesney and dozens of others, is a fact, a truth all his own. “My Favorite Picture of You,” his sturdy new album, sees the 71-year-old crafting lyrical works that, though drawn sparely and with great precision, reveal huge ideas.
"He brought the war home with him,” sings Clark on “Heroes,” a biting snapshot of an ex-soldier, a hero in the field now lost at home. “Still got the sand in his boots/ He’s wrestling with the demons/ And the cold, hard truth.”
Conversely, the title track is one of the sweetest love songs you’ll hear, one in which Clark celebrates a casual Polaroid of his late wife as though it were a Renaissance masterpiece. “My favorite picture of you,” he sings, “is the one where you’re staring straight into the lens.” Clark examines the image and its meaning, “It’s just a moment in time, you can’t have back/ You never left/ but your bags were packed … just in case.” Ten songs in total, and not a dud in the bunch, “Favorite Picture” is American song craft at its finest.
Watch Clark perform the title track with Verlon Thompson and Shawn Camp at the 2012 Americana Awards below.
“My Favorite Picture of You”
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