In Dark, Guy Clark's latest Sugar Hill release, the revered singer/songwriter has crafted yet another masterwork, laced with humor, clever wordplay, sharply drawn characters (several of them female),

In Dark, Guy Clark's latest Sugar Hill release, the revered singer/songwriter has crafted yet another masterwork, laced with humor, clever wordplay, sharply drawn characters (several of them female), and more than a touch of sadness. Clark is brilliantly descriptive on songs like "Mud" and the

title cut. "Magnolia Wind" taps into Clark's underrated romantic sensibilities, and "Soldier's Joy" manages to be both gruesome and lighthearted in one masterful turn. Gently delivered character studies like "Homeless," "Dancin' Days," and the battle-scarred "Bag of Bones" are nothing short of brilliant, but perhaps the record's high point is "Queenie," in which one can still feel Clark's barely contained anger over some S.O.B. shooting his dog. Pure genius.—RW