|Texas-born piano man Glen Clark has been writing and performing a blend of honky-tonk, blues, soul, country, gospel and rock ’n’ roll music all his life. He built an esteemed career as sideman and collaborator with super stars; Delbert McClinton, Bonnie Raitt, Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson to name just a few. Clark planted roots in Los Angeles and found his own success as a songwriter and soundtrack composer and formed his own group, The Glen Clark Band.
On his first solo album “You Tell Me” since 1994, Clark is backed by veteran like-minded players; Jim Milan on bass, Sam Swank on guitars and drummer John Bryant (co-producer with Clark), who also cut their teeth in the North Texas music scene. The ten fresh tracks recorded at the Fort Worth Ranch House bear witness to all the influences Clark has acquired since he began playing music in the bars of Fort Worth, Texas at the age of 16 in the mid-1960s. His vocal and songwriting skills run the gamut of American music, drawing instant comparisons to Gregg Allman, Bruce Springsteen, Jackson Browne and, his oldest friend, Delbert McClinton.
The red-dirt love song ‘You Tell Me’ opens the set with its easy bar room swing and sweet harmonies. Jim Foster on trumpet and saxophonist, Ron Jones, join the crew for the Memphis R&B track ‘Accept My Love,’ with Clark doing his best Al Green. Bryant hammers into his toms kicking off the groove for the slinky track ‘I Can Tell By Looking,’ while Clark lays out his determination to win over the target of his affections.
The album’s lone cover song is the Kris Kristofferson penned tome ‘This Old Road.’ The acoustic driven ballad is a reflective look at what we deem to have been the important elements of life. Clark leads on Hammond B3 on the gospel infused ‘Walk On,’ delivering a low country blues sermon on self-empowerment. Clark co-wrote the old school funk track ‘When The Time Is Right,’ with the legendary Steve Cropper for the 1998 Buddy Guy album “Heavy Love.” He and the band recreate the Stax records prototype with the same fire.
Clark then digs deeper into the album’s theme of devotion on the easy soul of ‘I’m Never Gonna Stop Loving You’ that features a terrific solo from Swank and the lush piano ballad ‘Dreamer,’ which could have come from the John Lennon song book, along with another Memphis-styled burner ‘In Search Of,’ each track carrying his message further by hailing the power of love.
The Americana anthem, ‘That’s Where You Come In,’ closes the set with an expansive tale of redemption on a dynamic E Street Band styled arrangement of shimmering keys and guitars. “You Tell Me” from Glen Clark is likely to shed some limelight on an artist, who has spent too much time standing in the shadows.
Rick J Bowen
Born in Fort Worth, Texas, Glen Clark (keyboards, guitar, vocals) studied music at North Texas State University. He moved to L.A. in the seventies where he co-founded the seminal southern roots rock group “Delbert and Glen” with Delbert McClinton. Delbert and Glen recorded two albums for the Clean/Atlantic label produced by Daniel Moore and T Bone Burnett, which included the song ‘Sugar Daddy’ written by Glen. ‘Sugar Daddy’ was later recorded by Bonnie Raitt as ‘Sugar Mama’ on her “Home Plate” (Warner Brothers) album and became a signature song for her. Other artists that covered songs from the Delbert and Glen albums included Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show, Rita Coolidge, Loretta Lynn, The Blues Brothers (‘B Movie Boxcar Blues’) and others.
Beginning in 1980 Glen began touring and writing with Kris Kristofferson and Willie Nelson. Glen and Kris’ collaborations included songs on numerous Kristofferson albums, as well as many of the songs in the feature film “Songwriter” starring Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson. Glen played the role of Paul in the movie and keyboards on the soundtrack album. Glen also appeared in “The Last Days and Times of Frank and Jesse James” with Johnny Cash and Kris Kristofferson, “Stagecoach” with Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, and Kris Kristofferson, and “Matlock” with Andy Griffith, for which Glen also wrote and performed original music. In the early eighties. Glen co-wrote Billie Swan’s hit single ‘Do I Have To Draw a Picture,’ one of ASCAP’s most performed songs.
In 1991 Bonnie Raitt asked Glen to join her band. He toured and recorded with Bonnie, playing keyboards and harmonica until 1997 when he joined Jim Belushi and the Sacred Hearts. During this period Glen had continued success as a songwriter with artists like Wynonna Judd, who recorded ‘Old Enough To Know Better’ on her “Revelations” (Curb) album, and for the movie “Wedding Bell Blues.” From this period to the present, Glen’s songs have been recorded by artists such as Etta James, Buddy Guy, John Mayall, Dizzy Gillespie, Delbert McClinton, Shemekia Copeland, Lee Roy Parnell, Gary Nicholson, Wayne Toups and others.
Glen began producing records in the late eighties with the group Little Whisper and the Rumors. His production credits include Stephen Kolander, Jim Belushi and the Sacred Hearts, and the group Big Men Big Music with Jim Belushi and Dan Aykroyd. He’s also written and performed original music for the television series “Total Security” and co-wrote the theme for the Showtime movie “Made Men.” His song ‘Leap Of Faith’ was the theme song for a Peter Jennings prime time special. His original music has been used extensively in the ABC hit television series “According To Jim” starring Jim Belushi, for which Glen acted as musical composer. He also performed with the Blues Brothers from 1997 until 2015. In 2014, Glen reunited with Delbert McClinton to release the critically acclaimed Delbert and Glen reunion album entitled “Blind, Crippled, and Crazy.” His song ‘Sugar Mama’ recorded by Bonnie Raitt is currently being featured in the HBO show “Here And Now.”
Jim Milan (bass) played with the Juke Jumpers in the early 80s and recorded six albums. They won album of the year with Buddy magazine for the “The Joint’s Jumpin” and Jim was given the Buddy magazine Texas tornado award in 1985. Jim joined Anson Funderburgh and the Rockets featuring Sam Myers in 1989. While in the band The Rockets won Handy/BMA Awards for Best Band, Best Album and Best Song for ‘Tell Me What I Want To hear,’ which Jim co-wrote. The Rockets toured the world extensively and Jim recorded on many of the band’s label Blacktop Records projects. In 1994 Jim joined Doyle Bramhall‘s band. While with Doyle he toured the world and recorded the critically-acclaimed “Fitchburgh Street” and toured on the Grammy nominated “Is It News.” Jim worked with Doyle until his passing in 2011. Jim started working with Glen Clark in 2016 and recorded his latest album “You Tell me.”
Sam Swank (guitar) is a life-long Dallasite, who started playing guitar in 1968 when his father brought home a copy of “Are You Experienced” by Jimi Hendrix to supplement his record collection, which consisted of “The Monkees Greatest Hits” and “Revolver” by the Beatles. He has made a living as a professional musician, guitar instructor and luthier for over 30 years. He’s studied classical guitar with Rick Madriguera at Eastfield College and Tom Johnson at the University of North Texas and has recorded and performed with such diverse talents as Johnny Reno, Olivia Newton-John, Ray Wylie Hubbard and Andy Timmons.
John Bryant (drums, percussion, vocals) lives in Dallas, TX, and plays drums and percussion. He has recorded and/or performed with numerous artists including Ray Charles, Delbert McClinton, Joe Walsh, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Eric Burdon, the Neville Brothers, and many others. He has performed studio work as a player and/or producer on many hundreds of sessions that include regional artists, touring shows, major motion pictures, and documentary films. John Bryant is an adjunct assistant professor at SMU and has also produced and directed a feature length documentary film, “Dare To Drum,” starring Stewart Copeland and the Dallas Symphony, released by Kino Lorber in 2017.