The spirit of Guy Clark lives on in the latest release from Austin-based Terry Klein.
‘Good Luck, Take Care‘ is the third album release from Austin-based singer-songwriter Terry Klein. A lockdown project, Klein has described his good fortune in finding producer Thomm Jutz, and recording and mixing the album in just four days in Nashville. Klein’s good fortune is our good fortune too, as this is an exceptional set of songs, drawing comparisons with some of the great lyricists of Americana, notably Guy Clark, Mary Gauthier and Rodney Crowell, all self-penned with the exception of ‘Salt‘, a co-write with Jackson Emmer.
Opening track ‘60 in a 75‘ strikes a Crowell-like tone, its driving beat matching its theme of a late night on the road returning to home base in Austin, with perhaps a hint too of Jim White. Klein’s vocals are full of character, lending gravitas to his finely crafted lyrics. Acoustic and slide guitars are front and centre on the album, supplemented here with drums and bass, as on ‘Salinas‘, a rocker, which tells the story of a worker trapped in a dead-end job in a cannery, seeking solace from “sweet Lisa on a Friday, sweet Jane on Saturday/ they give me some of their loving/I give them most of my pay”.
‘Does the Fish Feel the Knife’ is a sensitive reflection on the challenges of parenthood, as a four-year-old asks her father the very questions that are challenges for all of us, as Klein sings “what happens when we die/is it kinda like sleeping”, and “You need a licence to drive a car/to shoot a buck to cut a man’s hair/ anyone can have a kid/and send you home/good luck take care/does the fish feel the knife”.
A similarly reflective tone is set on ‘Salt’, with gentle slide guitar, a tale of lost love, and its memorable refrain “It’s not so much the bitter tears /as the salt they leave behind/but I’ll be fine”.
‘The Woman Who Was Lost in the Flood’ tells of a dramatic escape from an abusive relationship, its storytelling reminiscent of Mary Gauthier or Guy Clark, with semi-spoken delivery, slide guitar and fiddle adding to the songs emotional intensity. The spirit of Guy Clark is evident too in ‘What You Lose Along the Way’, its spoken lyrics over finger-picked guitar telling of characters from the narrators past, but acknowledging that it’s not those characters themselves that are missed as Klein sings “I would say I miss those guys/but it would be a lie/what I miss is being young”.
A memorable and finely crafted set of songs with characterful vocals from Klein.