An Evening with a Legend
— Roy Clark
By Staff Journalist Helen Peterson
Roy Clark has been entertaining audiences
for nearly half a century. His virtuoso guitar playing and his
effortless, affable and emotional voice, along with his
engaging personality have made him an industry icon and one of
the most beloved "pickers" of all time.
A natural-born musician and performer, he
is probably best known as a member of longest running series
on television, Hee Haw, but Clark also made his way on to the
radio charts on numerous occasions and achieved major chart
success with classics like "Tips of my Fingers,"
“If I Had It to Do All Over Again,” “Thank God And
Greyhound (She's Gone),” and “Yesterday, When I Was
Young.” To date, Clark has been awarded “Entertainer of
the Year” by both the Academy of Country Music and the
Country Music Association, “Instrumentalist and Comedian of
the Year” by the ACM, and “Instrumentalist of the Year”
(for both guitar and banjo) six times from the Music City News
awards and way too many other awards than we have room to list
here. His innovation and flair for entertaining are not
limited to music, if you are a fan of "The Beverly
Hillbillies," you may remember the characters
"Cousin Roy" and "Big Mama Halsey;" both
characters were played by Clark. In the late eighties he was
finally made a member of the Grand Ole Opry and during the
nineties he concentrated on performing at his own theater in
Branson, Missouri. His most recent album releases came in 2005
when he released "Hymns from the Old Country Church"
and "It's About Time, It's About Me;" a collection
of bluegrass tunes.
For all of the aforementioned reasons, in
addition to the simple fact that I'm a life long fan, I was
thrilled when visiting family members recently asked if I
wanted to join them at a local venue to see Roy Clark perform.
I went with great expectations and I wasn't disappointed.
Clark brought to the stage exactly what I expected and more.
He sang several of his hit songs but it was the his soulful
and beautiful rendition of ‘Somewhere My Love’ (Lara’s
theme from Dr. Zhivago) that sent chills down my spine and
reminded me why I was so willing to head for the theater at
the mention of his name.
Along with the hits, Clark’s quick wit
had the audience in the palm of his hands throughout his
performance. He shared the fact that one of his all time
favorite movies was "Brother, Where Art Thou" and
brought his band, amicably named Roy’s Toys to the front of
the stage to sing the theme song "I am a Man of Constant
Sorrow." He continued to share the spotlight with his
very talented band as he focused on the different members
independently. Clark said that two of the members, David Smith
and Justin David, have recorded CDs of their own and Justin
David piqued my interest since I am a fan of the program
Nashville Star and David was a finalist from the 2005 season.
During his performance, David showcased his multiple talents
playing fiddle and mandolin, in addition to serenading us with
his great voice. I couldn’t resist, on my way out the
door I purchased his CD; It’s Just Me and I'm not the
least bit hesitant to predict we'll be hearing a lot more
about Justin David.
Clark closed his show encouraging the
audience to go out and do nice things for people and then
watch the result multiply. His philosophy is simple and
ancient; as each person is the recipient of a good deed, they
will turn around and follow suit, it will grow and grow and
the concept of “Pure Love” will expand. Clark is the
perfect ambassador of this concept. He is a magnificent
philanthropist, a splendid mentor to his band members, and he
left everyone in the audience with a happy heart from the
excellent entertainment he delivered from the stage. For
Roy Clark, legend, is the most fitting and appropriate