She’s anti-Nashville, pro-keepin’ it real. Her songs speak out against racism, (“Southern Hospitality”, recorded with Kenny Olson and Eerie Von and co-written with nephew Jared Beckett), examine the problems of addiction, (“Relapse”), Country Music, (“I’m Not Country”), hypocrisy and corruption, (“Murder or Suicide” and “Preacher’s Hands”). She’s also written some of the most stirring love gone wrong songs I’ve ever heard, including my favorite, “Living Proof.”
She appears to be fearless and so are her songs, somehow full of both darkness and redemption. With a Southern Gothic lineage that includes both John Wilkes Booth and a Grand-Daddy that played with Hank Sr., it’s hard to out-Outlaw Kara Clark. She even made the final payments on D. Ray White’s tombstone, (a mountain dancer made famous by both Mike Seeger and Hank Williams III). I’ve had the opportunity to see her perform several times recently, both with her band and with keyboardist David Walker. She amazed me.
The night before we set out for Huntington, Kara played at a favorite local Honky-Tonk in my adopted hometown/Land of the Outlaw Amish. The crowded show also included Blues artist Michael Gough. When a tiresomely persistent audience member refused to stop asking for covers, Kara made one of my favorite on-stage comments ever: “When you can find me a cover song as good as my originals I’ll play it.”
Her next performance here was with long-time keyboard player David Walker, who has co-written many of her songs and helped produce her new album. This was at The Spillway in Bowling Green, KY. The room was mesmerized. Walker’s quiet keys were the perfect pairing for her sultry, often sorrow laden tones. It was, at times, almost hypnotic. Although she still didn’t play any of the covers mentioned at the college venue, (and this time, I must say thankfully, she wasn’t asked), Kara did break from her usual routine that night. From standards like Hank III’s “Low Down” and Johnny & June Cash’s “Ring of Fire” to the unexpected, like “Last Dance With Mary Jane” and “Easy Like Sunday Morning”, she seemed not so much to be going through set lists as taking a rather profound inner road-trip she’d invited the audience along for.
Here she is performing her song “Lonely” (accompanied by David Walker):
And one more…this is her song “Whiskey and Cigarettes”:
I don’t think I’d seen Kara since we left for her West Virginia CD release, in the wake of a hurricane. She hadn’t let the storm, which touched down just a few miles from her gig the night before, get in the way of a thing and you can read about our adventures and her release at the V Club HERE.
Check these out:
The videos of Kara at The Spillway in Bowling Green, KY were filmed by Outlaw Magazine’s own VintageQueen54 and all photos are by Wayne Titsworth. Check out more of VintageQueen54’s videos (including some of my own performances!) on her Youtube Channel.
Lonesome Liz is an Outlaw Country and Blues singer/songwriter, (http://lonesomelizmusic.
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