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“Circle” Vol. III
Hank Cochran
Willie Nelson

International Songwriters
Association newsletter

Bobby Braddock
Hank Cochran
Gordon Lightfoot
Mel Tillis

Music Row magazine
Dave Berg
Liz Rose

CD Reviews:
Dierks Bentley
Alan Jackson
Danielle Peck
Earl Scruggs

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Music Journalist

Larry Wayne Clark
Larry Wayne Clark
Before I ever picked up a guitar, sat in front of a studio control board or puzzled over an elusive rhyme scheme, I was a music fan, just like millions of others. Truth is, I still am. I want to know about the rebels and trailblazers who carved the way for the pickers and poets who followed. How they wrote their songs, where their ideas came from, what it was like for them growing up, how it feels to live in their skin. It’s part hero worship, part sheer curiousity and maybe a bit of hoping I’ll soak up some of their brilliance through osmosis. Whatever it is, it’s damned compelling and shows no signs of going away.

Spending as much time as I do in Nashville is a blessing for someone of my disposition. You literally cannot strike up a conversation in a bar or at a buffet table on Music Row without being dramatically reminded that this community is peopled by many of the architects of our popular music, as well as their offspring, neighbors, partners, spouses and exes. The pianist on your recording session admits to having played on several famous Elvis records. The lovely dark-haired woman sitting in front of you at The Bluebird Cafe turns out to be Louise Dorsey, Engelbert Humperdinck’s songwriter daughter. You’re casually introduced to Merle Kilgore in a diner and it slowly seeps in that this is the man who wrote “Ring Of Fire” and, as a starstruck boy, once carried Hank Williams’s guitar case. You go to Bill Monroe’s memorial service at the Ryman Auditorium (open to the public, of course) and sit surrounded by famous bereavers as meanwhile Vince Gill, Ricky Skaggs and Connie Smith perform on that historic stage, deeply appreciated but unapplauded because this is, after all, a day of mourning. Nashville. There’s nothing, and nowhere, like it.

I write CD reviews for Music Row Magazine and occasionally for Country Weekly. Several times a year my articles appear in Nashville Scene, a weekly entertainment and opinions magazine, writing about Willie Nelson’s early Nashville days or the latest “Circle” CD by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. But nothing pleases me more than the in-depth songwriter interviews I conduct regularly for the International Songwriters Association, located in distant Limerick City, Ireland but hungry for the word from Music City. Thanks to the ISA I’ve gotten to spend rewarding hours with Roger Cook, Bobby Braddock, Mel Tillis, Roy Orbison producer Fred Foster, Hank Cochran, Kilgore, and many more. Even the great Gordon Lightfoot, one of my boyhood idols, by long distance phone.

All that and they actually pay me to do this stuff. Talk about your kid in a candy store!

These interviews originally appeared in the newsletter of the International Songwriters Association. The reviews originally appeared in Music Row magazine.