With his lived-in West Texas voice and some of the finest songwriting chops of his generation, it’s always like welcoming an old friend over to dinner when Guy Clark releases a new record. There’s something strangely homey and comforting in Clark’s deep, craggy baritone and homespun-but-always-smart lyrics. Cold Dog Soup is no exception for a man who is utterly, genetically-incapable of putting out a less than absolutely wonderful record.
More bluegrassy than most of his work, Cold Dog Soup sports some truly sweet mandolin and dobro licks from Darrell Scott and songs bespeaking Clark’s Texas pride (” Red River”). As usual, Clark’s uncanny storytelling abilities are front and center, marking him as a true poet. The title track is the standout lyric-wise, with clever lines acting as instant character vignettes: “Townes Van Zandt standin’ at the bar / Skinnin’ a Hollywood movie star / Can’t remember where he parked his car / Or to whom he lost the keys.” You really can’t go wrong with a Guy Clark album, but this one has the added bonus of being his best since 1983’s Better Days.