Guy Clark, "My Favorite Picture of You" (Dualtone)
On the cover of the album "My Favorite Picture of You," veteran singer-songwriter Guy Clark holds an old Polaroid snapshot of his wife, Susanna, who died in 2012.
The photo captures a fierce look on Susanna Clark's face, her arms crossed. As the title song explains, she was upset and considering leaving because of her husband's behavior. The song is a tribute, in Clark's concisely poetic fashion, as he notes lovingly in his sweetly gruff voice that his wife was "a stand-up angel who won't back down."
That blunt autobiography, and the masculine sentimentality it contains, encapsulates Clark's distinctive gifts. A legend among fans of acoustic music steeped in country, folk and blues, the 71-year-old Clark hasn't been the most prolific recording artist over a nearly 40-year recording career. But he is among the most consistent, setting the bar for raw-boned, open-hearted, slow-rolling narratives.
Working with old friends and a small collection of younger musicians and co-writers, Clark continues that streak on "My Favorite Picture of You." Past the touching title song, he writes with moving detail about emotionally scarred soldiers in "Heroes," tragic border crossings in "El Coyote" and stoking the muse through dangerous habits in "The High Price of Inspiration."
All told, Clark's talents remain in crisp focus on "My Favorite Picture of You."