new album released oct 20th
The Long Way Home
from the album - Gypsy Boots
YouTube - Terri Clark - Gypsy Boots | Full Video |
Like her contemporary Shania Twain, singer/songwriter Terri Clark came storming out of Canada and captured the attention of America's country music industry in the mid-'90s. Where Twain incorporated more rock & roll elements into her music, Clark largely stayed close to her country roots, even if those roots were more new country than hardcore honky tonk. Raised in Medicine Hat, Alberta, Clark (born in Montreal, August 5, 1968) was part of a musical family. Her grandparents, Ray and Betty Gauthier, were country stars in Canada, opening shows for stars like George Jones and Little Jimmy Dickens, while her mother sang folk songs in local coffeehouses. As a child, Terri listened to her grandparents' country records and taught herself how to play guitar. Throughout her adolescence, Clark sang, played, and listened to country music; she was particularly inspired by female artists like Reba McEntire, the Judds, and Linda Ronstadt.
Following her high-school graduation in 1987, she moved to Nashville. Upon her arrival, she wandered into Tootsie's Orchid Lounge unannounced and asked if she could sing. Surprisingly, she impressed the management and landed a job as the club's house singer. Though her initial arrival in Nashville was successful, it took Clark quite a long time to work her way into the actual industry. For the next seven years, she sang at clubs and worked odd jobs, all the while trying to land a record contract. During this time, she met and married a fiddler named Ted Stevenson. In 1994, she landed an audition for Mercury Records. After seeing a live performance by Clark, the label's president signed the singer.
Clark's eponymous debut album was released in the summer of 1995. Terri Clark was a hit upon its release, spawning the Top Ten hits "Better Things to Do," "When Boy Meets Girl," and "If I Were You," as well as going gold. Clark supported the album with a tour opening for George Strait. In 1996, she was nominated for the Country Music Association's Horizon Award, as well as the Academy of Country Music Awards' Best New Female Vocalist. She won a bevy of Canadian Country Music Awards in 1996, including Album of the Year and Single of the Year; she was also named the Top New Female Country Artist of 1995 by Billboard magazine. Her second album, Just the Same, was released in the fall of 1996, preceded by the hit single "Poor Poor Pitiful Me." How I Feel followed in 1998. Fearless brought the country chart single "A Little Gasoline" in fall 2000, and Pain to Kill was released in 2003. Mercury unleashed Clark's Greatest Hits 1994-2004 the next year, followed by Life Goes On in 2005.
Four years after her final Mercury Nashville album, Life Goes On, a wiser, bloodied, but unbowed Terri Clark emerges on the The Long Way Home. This self-produced, self-released album is on her own Bare Tracks imprint, distributed by Capitol. Clark wrote or co-wrote every track on The Long Way Home, a rockin' contemporary country record that sets its own standard for excellence, in her songwriting, in her production, and of course in her absolutely electric and soul-baring performance. It's a contemporary country record, but one that sets its own standard with a natural sound with some unique twists and turns that enhance the songs, not the sonic palette.
The real strength of any album is in its songs. And this one has them in spades. "Gypsy Boots" is a sexy, stomping country blues-rock anthem that begins with a fiddle and acoustic guitar. Clark sings: "I was born in Gypsy boots with a guitar on my back/With a rebel soul and an attitude/Just like Johnny Cash/This is just another town and I'm only passing through..." the verse could serve metaphorically for Nashville, and her telling them where to stick it. Verse two is pure, heated, sexual bravado, and the last underscores her bragging rights as a country artist: she's lived the genre's songs. The single "If You Want Fire" reveals this life experience. Its honesty and acknowledgment of her life's triumphs and mistakes are laid out plainly with an admonition: "It's every kind of crazy I could ever imagine/A battle ragin' between my head and my heart/But if you gotta have it all, that madness and passion/ Then you'll learn/If you want fire/It better be worth the burn..." The arrangements that underscore Clark's vocals are stellar; slide guitar melds seamlessly with ringing, plucked electrics as a snare accents the ends of lines. The lovely mandolins and acoustic guitars in the confessional ballad "A Million Ways to Run" are beautiful, underscoring that this is no cheap admission, but the truth's burden pressing hard upon the human heart, insisting that it be revealed. The raw soul in this tune is worth the price of the album. Joe Strummer once said "You don't face your demons down,/You wrestle them to the ground." "What Happens in Vegas (Follows You Home)," written with Maia Sharp, is searing in its honesty, but so hook-laden its melodic appeal is undeniable. Vince Gill backs Clark on the gorgeous, heartbreaking rejection of co-dependency in "The One You Love." The country-blues return on the funky "Poor Girl's Dream," driven by banjos and big guitars. The 12-bar tradition is important here, because Clark shows her roots in blues and hard-edged honky tonk while writing modern refrains and bridges. There is nurture here too, as evidenced by the beautiful "Tough with Me," a paean to a partner who insists on fronting off the world. "You Tell Me," a duet with Johnny Redd, is fueled by hand percussion and acoustic guitars underscoring an intimate conversation as lovers try to figure out where and how love goes on when it's stretched to the margins.
The Long Way Home proves Clark is indeed "Fearless." Every song meets contemporary country's criteria but contains lyrical content, and musical and production sophistication, that demand attention. Ultimately, this is the finest recording of her career to date, and is a model for what contemporary country music could be if it were more artist driven.
1 Gypsy Boots 03:51
2 If You Want Fire 4:38
3 A Million Ways to Run 4:19
4 What Happens in Vegas (Follows You Home) 3:10
5 Merry Go Round 3:42
6 The One You Love 3:23
7 Poor Girls Dream 3:06
8 If I Could Be You 4:18
9 Tough with Me 3:34
10 You Tell Me 04:07
11 Gypsy Boots [Acoustic Demo Version] 04:27