26.2 with Guy Clark

Dear Mr. Clark,

Hello. Todd Hoke, here. You don't know me but I'm one of your fans. My first album of yours was Texas Cookin' and I now own everything you've done except the Austin City Limits recording. I'll get that one sooner or later I reckon. Maybe when I'm done typing this thing up. (Update: just ordered it.)

I've seen you perform several times. You were the first concert Mrs. Hoke and I attended in Austin after we moved there in '94 (Or more accurately: yours is the first concert I recall. Austin...you know.). That show was in what I think was called "The Marcia Ball Music Hall" at La Zona Rosa--one of the many rooms that have come and gone as Austin has grown and changed. That night it was just you and some guy whose name I can't recall on bass and it was perfect which makes it wrong that I can't recall his name. Oh well. More recently Mrs. Hoke and I saw you and Verlon at The Orange Peel in Asheville. Even more recently I read that you'd cancelled an upcoming appearance in North Carolina due to some health concerns. I hope, Mr. Clark, that you recover quickly and are able to tour in support of "My Favorite Picture of You." I know your fans--myself included--would love to hear those songs played live.

I'm writing to you today for a couple of reasons, Mr. Clark. Firstly just to say what I've already said: that your music has meant a great deal to me and that I am frankly overdue to write you a fan letter or a thank you note or some damn thing or another to express my appreciation for your life's worth of dedication to music and chasing the hell out of the muse. It has made my life better, truly. Secondly I wanted to tell you that we ran a marathon in Asheville yesterday: The Asheville Citizen-Times Marathon. More specifically: I did the running while you provided the soundtrack via my MP3 gadget. I'm sorry we didn't have a quicker time (4hr 47min if you're curious [and it's still the same time if you ain't]) but Asheville is damned hilly and I'm pretty slow regardless whether the course slopes up or down.

I heard a lot of familiar songs over the course of my run--"L.A. Freeway" and "Texas-1947" and "Randall Knife" at least twice apiece from different albums. And plenty of fun chatter from some of the live albums--I am so glad y'all recorded the story to "L.A. Freeway" on Songs and Stories. And a lot of your material that's a bit less familiar to me but that will soon be rooted in my brain and heart, I'm sure.

Well. I reckon that's enough. I've never written a fan letter of any sort to anyone--not even Mr. Rogers and I liked him a lot when I was a kid. So. This here is rare stuff. I hope to see you perform again down the trail. Be well and thank you so much for all the music, Mr. Clark. Truly: Thank you very much.


Todd Hoke

PS We finished to "Good Advice" from My Favorite Picture of You and there may well be a very deep metaphor entwined therein but I'll leave it to someone with less sore legs to unravel.

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