DAVE'S DIARY - 3 JANUARY 2005 - CLINT BLACK

"Like Clint Black and Hayden Nicholas, many songwriters will escape to remote places, like log cabins in the mountains to do their songwriting. Matt Campbell of Pheasant Pluckers said Anglesea Waltz from the album, Take Me There was written in a beach house. Others find inspiration for songs in their daily routine. Songwriting is as individual as the people themselves. "

CLINT BLACK - STICKY ORWELLIAN CYBER JAM

"Now that my computer knows where I am/ the super highway is a log-on jam/ got super geeks hacking right into my home/ satellites tracking me wherever I roam." - Haywire - Clint Black-Hayden Nicholas.

Singing Texan actor Clint Black is not the first country artist to parody extremities of the Orwellian cyber range.

But when Clint and long time writing partner-guitarist Hayden Nicholas penned Haywire for belated 10th album Spend My Time (Equity-Shock) they nailed moving targets.

Black frequently hits bullseyes in a music jungle that claimed so many peers - he has retained his artistic creativity and a proactive role in production.

He also produced the debut disc by Oklahoma born Nashville Star winner Buddy Jewel.

Clint's early discs featured road band members on originals penned with Nicholas who worked Texan honky tonks with him from the mid-eighties.

The New Jersey born, Texas reared troubadour emerged in 1989 with peers diverse as Lyle Lovett, Steve Earle, Randy Travis, Alan Jackson and Garth Brooks.

And, like Lovett and Travis, he was smart enough to strut his stuff in acting, not just singing roles, in movies.

With a string of hits such as Better Man, Killin' Time and No Time To Kill, the movie transition was easy.

WINGS, MAVERICK & CADILLAC JACK FAVOR



Clint Black with wife Lisa Hartman
He debuted in 1994 in TV show Wings and Maverick before his role in Still Holding On: The Legend Of Cadillac Jack.

Black wrote the theme song for the 1998 movie about forties rodeo champ Cadillac Jack Favor.

Favor, long deceased, was jailed for life in Louisiana after being framed and served eight years before being freed after the real killers, hitchhikers who stole his car, were found.

Black, husband and duet partner of Hollywood actress Lisa Hartman, played a doctor in telemovie Going Home, with Jason Robards and Sherry Stringfield.

Clint and Lisa - a singer before she was an actress - have duetted on his albums.

"It's been years since she sang a lot," he says of Lisa, who released four albums in the '70s and '80s.

"She didn't feel like her chops were up to speed. But she's been doing it, and the fans go crazy."

Black split with RCA five years ago and wrote prolifically for this disc on a label with not so cryptic title Equity in which he's a partner.

"I had about 35 songs I would like to have put on this album," Black revealed.

"I narrowed it to 20, and from there I just had to start thinking about song keys, tempos, and themes. It's not easy to pick some songs and leave others out. Every song I write, I can't wait for people to hear."

Black's music is steeped in traditional country, with bluesy jazz influences, dating back to the song She's Leavin' that took 22 years to record.

"It was always in the running when I would go in the studio to do a new album, but it's always been one of those songs that got eliminated. What Ever Happened took several different shapes on the way to its final musical style," Black says.

COLORADO

"Hayden and I used to get a cabin in the Colorado Mountains, hide out, and write. For this song we just put ourselves back into that cabin as a heartbroken shut-in who just isn't going back out in the storm. The snow and mountains are metaphors for trying at love again."

Clint, now 42, entrees with the title track - a reflection on maximising middle age - that segues into human frailties on We All Fall Down.

"But we all fall down no matter high we've been/ but the way you fall will have a lot to say about the way you get back up again."

Black dissects diverse love moods on - Someone Else's Tears (with Nashville DJ Gerry House) and A Lover's Clown with Steve Wariner.

Imagery is also superb in his co-write with Will Jennings on The Boogie Man - about a piano player in a Texas roadhouse - wry word play of A Mind To and cyber stalking in Haywire.

Clint's vocal strength enables him to ignite ballads that might have faded to, ah Black, in lesser artists' delivery.

KEVIN FOWLER ON EQUITY

Also on Equity is Texan troubadour Kevin Fowler whose fourth album Loose, Loud & Crazy was released late in 2004.

Fowler, who debuted in rock band Dangerous Toys, sold a brace of indie albums that introduced his songs to major artists.

His second album title track Beer, Bait and Ammo is based on a sign he saw in a little store on the way to Helotes in Texas.

Four times wed Louisiana singer Sammy Kershaw, fifth husband of Lorrie Morgan, cut the song.

And fellow Texas Mark Chesnutt cut The Lord Loves the Drinkin' Man for his new album Savin' The Honky Tonk.

THE PROTEST SONG

Black ignited a storm when he wrote and recorded this social comment song Iraq And Roll on the Iraq war.

The song, written with Nicholas, caused the most controversy of the 100 tunes by the singer in his BMI catalogue.

IRAQ AND ROLL

You can wave your signs and protest
against America taking a stand,
the stands America's taking
are the reason that you can.
If everyone would go for peace
there'd be no need for war.
But we can't ignore the devil,
he'll keep coming back for more.

Some see this in black and white,
others only gray.
We're not begging for a fight,
no matter what they say.
We have the resolution
that should put 'em all to shame.
It's a different kind of deadline
when I'm called in the game.

Iraq, I rack 'em up and I roll,
I'm back and I'm a hi-tech GI Joe.
I pray for peace, prepare for war
and I never will forget ~
there's no price too high for freedom
so be careful where you tread.
This terror isn't man to man,
they can be no more than cowards.
If they won't show us their weapons
we might have to show them ours.

Now it might be a smart bomb,
they find stupid people too.
If you stand with the likes of Saddam,
well, one might just find you.
Iraq, I rack 'em up and I roll,
I'm back and I'm a hi-tech GI Joe.
I got infrared, I got GPS,
I got that good old-fashioned lead.
No price too high for freedom,
so be careful where you tread.
Now you can come along
or you can stay behind

or you can get out of the way.
But our troops take out the garbage
for the good old USA.
Iraq, I rack 'em up and I roll.
for the USA.


Performed by Clint Black
Written by Clint Black & Hayden Nicholas


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