Guy Clark tributes and memories: once more, with old time feeling

Austin singer-songwriter Bruce Robison sent out a short but sweet note to fans this morning, stating simply: “With heavy hearts, Bruce Robison has elected to share a song rather than comment on the passing of Guy Clark. May he rest in peace.”

Attached was a link to a lovely solo acoustic version of Clark’s “L.A. Freeway” — included above via YouTube — which it seems that Robison may have recorded yesterday. He’s also made it downloadable for free.

RELATED: More memories of Guy Clark from Austin’s music community

Meanwhile, longtime Austin drummer Mark Patterson, who has played with Billy Joe Shaver, Robert Earl Keen, Loose Diamonds and many others, posted a great remembrance about an encounter with Clark in Nashville while he was on tour with Keen many years ago. Here’s the story:

Guy Clark in 1992.  Photo by Karen Warren/American-Statesman

Guy Clark in 1992. Photo by Karen Warren/American-Statesman

I was lucky enough to get to hang out with Guy Clark a few times, but the first time was the funniest: I was in Nashville playing with Robert Earl Keen at 12th & Porter; I think Robert was looking for a new record deal at that point and he was hoping some A&R execs would be in attendance, so he was a little wound up about the show.

After sound check, everyone but me went back to the hotel to clean up. I stuck around to eat and see if I knew anyone that came early. I was heading to the bar for a coke when who should I see holding up the bar but a tall Texan in all denim. I recognized Guy of course, who offered to buy me a drink. I told him I wasn’t drinking till after the show and that Robert was a little nervous about the show. He immediately got a gleam in his eye and hatched a plan to “get” Robert.

He had the bartender fix me a club soda with lime so it looked like his gin & tonic, of which he might have already had a few, and had me lean way back on the bar just like he was doing, and before very long Robert walks in and the first thing he sees before this very important show is his drummer leaning sideways at the bar next to Guy. His eyes got real big and Guy just drawls out: “Hey, Robert! I’ve been gettin’ to know Mark here,” as he claps me on the back and I stumbled. I tried to look bleary-eyed and smile.

The shock and dismay on Robert’s face as he thought that Guy had managed to sabotage his important showcase was too much to bear, so I straightened up and told him I wasn’t really drunk. Guy just guffawed seeing Robert’s face turn to relief, knowing he’d really gotten him, if only for a minute.

As I recall, it was a great show and we did get a deal with Arista out of it. And I got to have a real drink after the show with Guy, who was just as warm and gracious and funny as you’d imagine he’d be from listening to all those great songs he wrote. He probably had a joke for St. Peter when he got to the pearly gates, too. Rest in Peace, Guy.

RELATED: Austin remembers Guy Clark as one of the best-ever Texas songwriters

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