Guy ClarkMy Favorite Picture of You (Dualtone)
After 71 years on Earth and 15 albums of unparalleled creative exuberance, what can one still expect from Guy Clark? Don't anticipate he'll continue to produce songs and tell stories with the same warmth and intelligence he always has or he'll take it as a dare and prove you fatally wrong. That's essentially what he's accomplished with My Favorite Picture of You, 10 inspired tunes and one choice cover sure to leave less accomplished songsmiths gasping for breath. With last year's loss of his wife Susanna, the title track bears special poignancy, her slight scowl offering disapproval to a drunken Seventies afternoon its author turns into a story of their lifelong love. As always, Clark plays with words in a manner that's wry and inventive on highlights "Hell Bent on a Heartache," "The High Price of Inspiration," and "I'll Show Me." It's presented with typically austere backing, both mandolin and cello adding offset color to the singer's weathered voice. The harmony vocals of Morgane Stapleton actually take away from the proceedings with her chirp sounding more than occasionally out of place. One surprise on My Favorite Picture of You: no Townes Van Zandt cover. Instead of honoring his long departed friend as he has on multiple albums, Clark chooses "The Waltzing Fool," a starry-eyed fantasy from Lyle Lovett's 1986 debut that fits perfectly among the Mexican immigrants, war veterans, lovers, and losers that populate the songs here.