Women in Music 2016
Watch Billboard and American Express' 'Women in Music: Inspiring a Generation' Video
Bozoma Saint John Accepts Executive of the Year Honor at Women In Music 2016: 'We're Knocking Dudes Out of the Way to Make Room for You'
Madonna Delivers Her Blunt Truth During Fiery, Teary Billboard Women In Music Speech
Kesha Accepts Trailblazer Award at Billboard Women in Music 2016: 'Don't Let Anyone Take Your Happiness'
Kenny Chesney Pays Tribute to Country Songwriter Guy Clark: 'If Nashville Had a Hemingway' It Was Him
Guy Clark, a member of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame whose songs were recorded by Johnny Cash, Emmylou Harris, George Strait, Willie Nelson, Kenny Chesney and many others, died May 17 after a lengthy battle with cancer. He was 74. Chesney, who covered Clark's "Hemingway's Whiskey" on his 2010 album of the same name, remembers the singer-songwriter.
When I got to Nashville, Guy Clark was one of those names you knew. It meant a level of songwriting few attained, but it also meant songs that contained the heart of real life.
I won't say he intimidated me as much as I was always blown away by the artistry he brought to homegrown tomatoes, old men, free-spirited women. He had grace and compassion for the people he wrote about, and he told the truth about the cost of being a slave to creativity.
I have friends who pass me records I need to know. Someone gave me Somedays the Song Writes You, and I heard 'Hemingway's Whiskey.' It was a perfect song, and everything he says within the song -- about dignity, about living, about getting by -- pulled me in immediately.
If Nashville ever had a Hemingway, it was probably Guy Clark. As the song says, "Sail away, sail away as the day grows dim/Live hard, die hard, this one's for him..."
This article was originally featured in the May 28 issue of Billboard.