Legendary singer-songwriter Steve Earle is paying tribute to another legendary singer-songwriter with his upcoming 19th studio album. GUY is a collection of covers of songs written by Guy Clark, the Texan country singer who died of lymphoma in 2016 and who, along with Townes Van Zandt, served as one of Steve Earle’s primary inspirations and mentors. GUY comes out at the end of the week, and today, Earle stopped by our new Times Square office to perform a few songs from it in a lovely acoustic Stereogum Session.
“My new record is called GUY because it’s a record of Guy Clark songs, and Guy Clark was one of my two principal teachers,” Earle told us. “I made a record 10 years ago called Townes, which was a record of Townes Van Zandt songs. And when Guy passed away a few years ago, I knew that I would have to make this record at some point. Because I do not want to run into him on the other side having made the Townes record and not made his. Trust me, that would go very badly. I don’t even know whether I believe in that, but I’m not willing to take the chance when it comes to that encounter.”
Steve Earle performed three songs from the upcoming GUY, starting off with Clark’s 1995 track “Dublin Blues” before transitioning into “Texas, 1947,” which was originally recorded by Johnny Cash in 1975. He then took a brief break to speak about his relationship with Clark, reminiscing about the first time they met in a bar way back in 1974 when Earle, then 19, had just hitchhiked from San Antonio, Texas to Nashville, Tennessee. And he concluded with a moving rendition of “LA Freeway,” perhaps Clark’s most famous song. Watch the whole Stereogum Session below.
GUY is out 3/29 on New West Records. Pre-order it here.