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R.I.P., Susanna Clark


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The cause of death is not known at this point but apparently Guy Clark's wife Susanna has passed away. For those unfamiliar with Guy Clark, he is best known as a singer/songwriter who's works have been covered by the likes of Johnny Cash ("Desperados Waiting For A Train"), Jerry Jeff Walker ("L.A. Freeway") as well as tons of others. For those unfamiliar with Susanna, she wrote the song "Come From the Heart" which appears on Guy's Old Friends album from 1988 (which has been covered by Don Williams and Kathy Mattea). Over the years I've seen the words "dance like no one is watching" from "Come From the Heart" attributed to lots of other artists when it was actually Susanna that wrote them. I guess those words being referenced by so many others just goes to show the power of them even when she rarely received proper credit. She was also an artist and is well known for painting the cover of Emmylou Harris' 1978 album A Quarter Moon In A Ten Cent Town as well as the cover for Willie Nelson's Stardust record (also released in 1978). Susanna also co-wrote "Easy From Now On" which appears on Emmylou's A Quarter Moon In A Ten Cent Town album.




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From The Tennessean:

Susanna Clark, Nashville songwriter and painter, dies at 73

Posted on June 28, 2012 by Peter Cooper


Susanna Clark in 1989 (photo: Ricky Rogers/The Tennessean)

Susanna Clark, the former art teacher who went on to pen songs recorded by Emmylou Harris, Kathy Mattea, Miranda Lambert, Rosanne Cash, Jerry Jeff Walker, husband Guy Clark and many more, died Wednesday, June 27 in Nashville. She was 73, and had been in poor health in recent years.

Mrs. Clark was a vital figure in Nashville’s close-knit singer-songwriter community beginning in the early 1970s. She was a close friend and inspiration to Townes Van Zandt, Rodney Crowell and others, and her lyrics, her music and her visual art were enjoyed by millions: Her evocative paintings graced the covers of Willie Nelson’s Stardust, Emmylou Harris’ Quarter Moon In A Ten Cent Town, Guy Clark’s Old No. 1, Nanci Griffith’s Dust Bowl Symphony and other acclaimed albums.

Mrs. Clark was instrumental in convincing her husband to quit his work at a Houston television station and to focus on songwriting. The couple moved to Nashville together in 1971, and Guy Clark would go on to become a member of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.

“I just asked him what he wanted to do, and he said, ‘Music,’” she once told a Journal of Country Music reporter. “I said, ‘Well, let’s do it.’ And he said, ‘That’s the first time a woman has ever asked me to quit a job.’”

The Clarks’ household was a gathering place, a hive of activity for songwriters in the mid 1970s. Mrs. Clark was the first of those writers to pen a hit, and she did it with the first song she ever wrote, “I’ll Be Your San Antone Rose.”

“Even with Guy alone, I mean….. It’s very hard to write songs in the presence of someone I consider one of the two best songwriters in the world, the other being Townes,” she told The Tennessean in 2001. “But I’d taken some guitar lessons and I’d always written poetry, and, as I watched these people come through our house and play, I began to combine those talents.”

“I’ll Be Your San Antone Rose” was a Top 20 country hit for singer Dottsy in 1975, the same year Mrs. Clark was name-checked in her husband’s now-classic recording, “L.A. Freeway.” In 1978, she penned (with Carlene Carter) the lead track of Harris’ Quarter Moon In A Ten Cent Town, and she painted the album cover: A moon-sliver hanging above a tiny town that could well have been Mrs. Clark’s birthplace of Atlanta, Texas.

“That’s the 10 cent town,” she told The Tennessean. “Since I wrote ‘Easy From Now On’ and she chose a line out of the song to use for the album cover, I got to paint my own song.’”

Mrs. Clark went on to co-wrote (with Richard Leigh) Kathy Mattea’s 1989 country chart-topper, “Come From The Heart.” It was a song about purpose, artistry and soul.

“You’ve got to sing like you don’t need the money,” began the chorus. “Love like you’ll never get hurt. You’ve got to dance like nobody’s watching/ It’s gotta come from the heart if you want it to work."

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Photo of Guy and Susanna Clark taken by Jim McGuire from the Nashville Portraits site.


Guy and Susanna Clark (He, born 1941; she, born 1939)

Texans Guy and Susanna Clark, both singer/songwriters, first came to Nashville at the time that McGuire did, in 1972. They became fast friends when McGuire shot the cover photographs for Guy’s first studio album Old Number One, which was released by RCA Records in 1975. In the 1970s, when this photograph was taken, the Clark’s Nashville home was a haven for emerging songwriters and musicians. Guy Clark has served as a mentor to many other songwriters, most notably Steve Earle and Rodney Crowell, and numerous artists have recorded Clark-penned songs.


Location portrait/Nashville

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Richard Leigh, Jerry Jeff Walker, Susanna and Guy Clark from Jerry Jeff's Texas Connection program that used to air on TNN performing Susanna's "We Were Kinda Crazy Then". I'm not sure what other records it's appeared on but I first heard it on Jerry Jeff's Contrary To Ordinary which came out in '78.

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