Legendary singer-songwriter Guy Clark died on May 17, but this weekend in various spots throughout Dallas, his memory and legacy will be a living, singing entity.
The string of events are anchored by the release of Without Getting Killed or Caught: The Life and Music of Guy Clark, a book just finished by longtime publicist Tamara Saviano. But this weekend's events are no ordinary author signings.
The weekend begins Friday, Oct. 21 at 6 p.m., where Saviano will read from and sign copies of the book at the Billy Reid store in Highland Park Village. She'll be joined by Jack Ingram, former Dallas resident and a close friend of Clark's, for a short acoustic set. Shortly after, Ingram will be one of many artists celebrating Clark's life through song at Adair's Saloon, the venerable Deep Ellum dive where Ingram began his career in the mid-'90s.
Ingram will be joined by a boatload of local and not-so-local artists including the Trishas, Ryan Beaver and Dallas-born songwriter and producer Jon Randall, a friend and co-writer of Clark's. Giving the night an added bit of excitement, not that any is needed, will be the Texas Gentleman taking to the cramped saloon stage.
Simply put, the honky-tonk collective the Texas Gentlemen has a rotating cast of the area's best country players. Fresh off of performing as Kris Kristofferson's band for two local dates last week, their performance Friday at Adair's is as exciting and intriguing of a musical act as Dallas offers right now.
With more than 20 albums to his name, Guy Clark is considered by many to be a musical godfather to some of today's best country singer-songwriters from Texas.
With classic tunes such as "L.A. Freeway," and "Desperados Waiting for a Train," among others, the Grammy-winning Clark forged a noble reputation as a writer for Brad Paisley, Johnny Cash, Vince Gill and even Kenny Chesney.
Clark's final record, 2013's stellar My Favorite Picture of You, proved to be his highest-charting album ever.
This unique weekend is a one-of-a-kind stop on Saviano's crowded national schedule. The tribute events continue on Saturday with a Belmont Hotel brunch featuring a Billy Reid pop-up store, another chance to have Saviano sign her new book as well as guest musician appearances. The weekend tribute wraps up later that night at 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 22 near the Belmont pool with An Intimate Tribute to Guy Clark, another all-star concert where songwriters from the previous night will again pay tribute to Clark.
It's no random coincidence that the Belmont is serving as HQ for this series of events. One of the event organizers, Liz Foster of the Trishas, works for the Belmont and is a friend to many of the featured artists, as well as to Saviano. She says the idea for a weekend-long celebration came about from a brainstorming session during the recent Newport Folk Festival, where Saviano watched the Texas Gentleman perform with Kristofferson.
The distinct Nashville presence in Dallas this weekend makes perfect sense, since Texas-born Clark lived for decades in Nashville until his death.
Clark performed in Dallas on a regular basis for many years, with a number of stops at Poor David's Pub and the Granada Theater.
"Austin isn't the only place where cool shows like these happen," says organizer Liz Foster.
"There's a lot of great things going on in Nashville and in Dallas, and I think they're sister cities in more ways than Austin might be with Nashville."
Friday's show at Adair's in Deep Ellum will not be a typical tribute concert packed with Clark covers. The songwriters will perform their own compositions, as songwriting and friendship were important to Clark.
Stories of how Clark welcomed songwriters young and old into his home have become common, but no less special. Clark offered his thoughts and perspective through song and helped so many others do the same. Songs mattered to him, even if they weren't his own.
Foster says that the Weekend Tribute to Guy Clark is, fittingly, about "celebrating the love of life, songs and friends."
A Weekend Tribute to Guy Clark featuring author Tamara Saviano takes place Friday, Oct. 21 and Saturday, Oct. 22.
Friday, Oct. 21:
- 6-8 p.m.: Billy Reid In-Store book signing for Without Getting Killed or Caught: The Life and Music of Guy Clark by Tamara Saviano. Jack Ingram acoustic performance. Free.
- 10:30 p.m.-1:30 a.m.: Adair's Saloon after-party with Jack Ingram, the Texas Gentleman, the Trishas, Ryan Beaver, Jon Randall and more. $25.
Saturday, Oct. 22:
- 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m.: Belmont Hotel brunch, book signing and Billy Reid pop-up store.
- 7-10 p.m.: Belmont Hotel tribute to Guy Clark concert featuring Jon Randall, the Trishas, Van Darien, Shelly Colvin, Wesley Geiger, The Texas Gentleman, Ryan Beaver and more. $30.
By KELLY DEARMORE / SPECIAL CONTRIBUTOR