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'Getting personal' livens bluesman

W.C. Clark is one of the performers at the Blues and Brews Festival.
W.C. Clark is one of the performers at the Blues and Brews Festival.

Bluesman W.C. Clark has been playing music for 40 years. He loves his job, and it's because of the fans.

"I love meeting people," Clark said by phone from his home in Texas. "When I go on the road and play the places I do, I meet new people. And then I go back and play those places and find a little at a time that my world gets bigger."

Clark, who has played with the late Stevie Ray Vaughan, B.B. King, Albert King and James Brown, said there's nothing like connecting with his audience. "One of the things that makes this whole thing worthwhile is getting personal with the fans.

"I was in Wisconsin and this young man came up to me and said, 'Mr. Clark, my mother is one of your biggest fans. But she's too old to come to the show. I only live a couple of blocks away. Would you please come to my house and meet her?' I usually don't do that sort of thing, but for some reason, the spirits were working and I said, 'Sure.'

"So we got into his car and drove to his house and there I met this petite Tweetie-Bird lady who was jumping up and down. She had the notepad for my autograph and the camera, and she took some photos. The next morning at my hotel, I was handed a package. In this package was a photo of me and this little lady. And she had written a note that said, 'If you are ever in 20 miles of my house, come over and I'll cook you dinner.'

"I have that picture up in my studio, because it was such a great experience."

Other than those personal contacts, Clark said he loves playing music and spreading the word about the blues. "When I was first getting in the business, I didn't want to be a blues player. I wanted to be a musician. And I was actually a bass player during my early career. I switched to guitar because I wanted to broaden my horizons. And that's when I started playing more blues."

Last year, Clark released his latest album "Deep in the Heart." "I recorded maybe 17 songs for this album. We ended up using 12. But I, my manager and the record label wanted to make sure it was a good album. So we had a list of songs and went through them one at a time.

"A good song can be ruined by lyrics or music. When we choose songs for the album, we make sure we have good songs and not mediocre stuff that's being pushed on the radio. Sometimes a good song can have a repetitive chorus, but the music and the words fit together nicely. Sometimes the music can have a hook and sometimes the lyrics can have a hook. Those are catchy and those are what makes a good song, at least to me."

Clark has no reason to stop what he's doing anytime soon. "My wife keeps telling me that it's no use complaining when I get ready for a tour. She says, 'I know you need to go out there and spread some happiness.' "

If you go

What: Blues and Brews Festival

Where: Gallivan Utah Center, 239 S. Main St.

When: Tonight and Saturday, times vary

How much: $10 at the gate

Phone: 801-535-6110

Web: www.slcgov.com/publicservices/gallivan


E-mail: scott@desnews.com