The latest episode of the long-running live-music series Austin City Limits includes a loving tribute to the songs of the late, great Guy Clark, who died in 2016. Hosted by Steve Earle, and featuring his band the Dukes, the hour-long episode includes Clark and Earle’s fellow Texans, Rodney Crowell, Joe Ely, and Terry and Jo Harvey Allen.
Kicking off the episode is Earle’s stirring performance of Clark’s wistful “Dublin Blues” — the title cut off the songwriter’s 1995 album — which opens with the sweetly prophetic line, “I wish I was in Austin.” With a Celtic-flavored fiddle and vintage-country steel guitar break, the song builds to its most searing, memorable line: “I have seen the David, seen the Mona Lisa, too, and I have heard Doc Watson play ‘Columbus Stockade Blues.” Earle’s performance throughout is both gritty and heartfelt and the hour includes several personal anecdotes about his decades-long friendship with Clark, including reminiscences of being the 19-year-old bass player in the musician’s band, “until he needed a better bass player.” The episode also includes classic clips of Clark’s appearances on Austin City Limits, including his 1977 debut.
Other Clark gems featured during the hour include “Desperadoes Waiting for a Train,” which Earle performs with Joe Ely, and an Earle/Rodney Crowell duet on the lively, “Heartbroke,” a 1982 Number One country song for Ricky Skaggs. All of the episode’s guests take the stage for a finale of Clark’s “Old Friends.”
In March, Earle released the Clark tribute LP Guy. A documentary film about Clark’s life and music by Tamara Saviano, who penned the biography Without Getting Killed or Caught, is currently in the works.
Austin City Limits’ tribute episode to Guy Clark premieres Saturday, October 19th, at 9 p.m. ET on PBS, and will be available online for a limited time after the initial broadcast.