Guy Clark, Master Songwriter and Artist, Passes Away

Guy Clark said that the key to crafting a good song was to “write with a pencil and a big eraser.” His methodical songwriting process included pencil and graph paper. He liked to see every letter of every word laid out meticulously before deciding if a song was complete. It wasn’t about writing down all of the words he needed. It was about removing the ones he didn’t.

This morning, Guy passed away at the age of 74 after a long battle with cancer.

His songs were recorded by the likes of by Johnny Cash, Rodney Crowell, Emmylou Harris, Brad Paisley, Alan Jackson, George Strait, Jimmy Buffett, Kenny Chesney, Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson and legions of others. Guy Clark was more than just a songwriter and musician. He was an accomplished painter and luthier, building guitars in a basement workshop that became a pillar of inspiration for visiting writers.

“It’s kind of a dream come true to have a room where you write songs and build guitars,” Clark once told the Houston Chronicle. “You get stuck writing songs, and you just get up and work. It’s a right brain/left brain thing. Writing is so cerebral. You stare out a window trying to conjure something up. But four steps away you have this real hand/eye type stuff. They sort of feed off one another.”

“I think most people would surmise that when they hear God’s voice it will either sound like Guy Clark or Johnny Cash,” said Country Music Hall of Famer Vince Gill. While Guy’s voice will be laid to rest, the songs it sung will live forever.

Read Petter Cooper’s poignant story on Guy’s passing in the Tennessean: