A notable gathering of alt. country dignitaries celebrate Texas singer/songwriter Guy Clark's recent 70th birthday with this 2-disc collection. Willie Nelson takes a turn on one of Clark's best known tunes with the often covered Desperados Waiting For A Train
, which Nelson himself recorded with The Highwaymen. Fellow Highwayman Kris Kristofferson contributes Hemingways' Whiskey
, which serves as the title track with the lines "Sail away, sail away, as the day grows dim/ Live hard, die hard, this one's for him."
Many of the contributors have long-standing working relationships with Clark. Rodney Crowell, a frequent collaborator (including She's Crazy For Leaving), who has produced several Clark albums, opens the set with That Old Time Feeling and the mission statement "let's give her a good go and make old Guy proud of us." Vince Gill, who played guitar and sang on several Clark albums in the '80s and '90s, delivers an effective reading of Clarks' haunting Randall Knife. Guitarist Verlon Thompson, usually a sideman for Clark, shines on All Through Throwing Good Love After Bad, while Shawn Camp (who co-produced with Tamara Saviano) is in fine form on the poignant Homeless.
Amongst the stronger tracks are Radney Foster's take on L.A. Freeway and Joe Ely's Dublin Blues. Other highlights are Rosie Flores' bluesy Baby Took A Limo To Memphis , Emmylou Harris and John Prine's duet on Magnolia Wind and Roseanne Cash's inspiringBetter Days. The Austin band The Trishas contribute a stellar version of one of Clarks' better known songs She Ain't Goin' Nowhere . Elsewhere fellow singer/songwriter luminaries are in fine form with Steve Earle (The Last Gunfighter Ballad), Robert Earl Keen (Texas 1947 ), James McMurtry (Cold Dog Soup) and Jerry Jeff Walker (My Favorite Picture Of You ).
With excellent performances throughout of Guy Clark's brilliant compositions, the 30 tracks on this impressive collection should indeed satisfy Crowell's stated goal to make Clark proud.