When Guy Clark recorded his 1988 album Old Friends, he enlisted a bevy of musician buds to fulfill the title, from Rosanne Cash and Vince Gill to Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell. Those last two appear on Steve Earle’s new version of the LP’s title track, the latest song released from his upcoming tribute to Clark, Guy.
In the hands of Earle and his band the Dukes, “Old Friends” is a solemn prayer, with Harris harmonizing with Earle on the opening verse. She did likewise on Clark’s original recording of the song, written by Clark and his wife Susanna Clark with Richard Dobson. Crowell, Jerry Jeff Walker, Terry Allen and Jo Harvey Allen also join in here, offering various spoken-word lines that underscore the timeless camaraderie of the songwriters.
Earle will release Guy, produced by Earle and recorded by his longtime production partner Ray Kennedy, on March 29th. The album is companion piece of sorts to Townes, his 2009 tribute to Clark’s contemporary Townes Van Zandt, who died in 1997. Clark died in 2016 in Nashville.
Earle is supporting Guy with a lengthy tour that finds him hitting Houston, New York and Alexandria, Virginia, and will host his annual songwriting workshop, Camp Copperhead, in September. He’s set to play two shows in Colorado this weekend.