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R.I.P. W.C. Clark

W.C. Clark, the Godfather of Austin Blues, passed away on March 2 at the age of 84. Part of the bedrock of the Austin music scene, Clark performed on Austin City Limits in 1989 in celebration of his fiftieth birthday, joined by his friends and devotees Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimmie Vaughan, Kim Wilson, Lou Ann Barton, and Angela Strehli. He was part of the ACL family and we will miss him.

W.C. Clark, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Double Trouble drummer Chris Layton improvise a jam on Austin City Limits.

Singer, songwriter, guitarist, and bassist Clark became a professional musician at the age of 16, performing his first gig at the legendary Austin venue the Victory Grill. That led to gigs with other Texas blues and soul peers and pioneers, including T. D Bell, Blues Boy Hubbard, and Houston soul star Joe Tex. He also formed his own bands, taking other rising blues and R&B artists under his wing in the likes of the Storm (with Jimmie Vaughan), Southern Feeling (wth Angela Strehli), and the groundbreaking Triple Threat Revue (with Lou Ann Barton and Stevie Ray Vaughan). Other mentees included members of the Fabulous Thunderbirds and Sextons Charlie and Will. Beginning in the eighties, Clark led his own band, the W.C. Clark Blues Revue, for nearly forty years, touring the world and releasing eight albums along the way.

W.C. Clark and Friends perform “Take Me to the River.”

“W.C. was a class act and a gentleman,” said ACL executive producer Terry Lickona. “He was loved and respected by many, but fame and fortune were not his goals. He epitomized the best of the Austin music scene, and there are none others quite like him.”

Clark played his final gig at Giddy Ups on February 20, a mere thirteen days before his death, leaving behind an enviable legacy. He will be greatly missed.

W.C. Clark and Friends on Austin City Limits, 1989. L-R: Angela Strehli, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jon Blondell, W.C. Clark. Photo by Scott Newton.
Featured News

K.T. Oslin R.I.P.

The Austin City Limits crew is sad to hear of the death of singer, songwriter and country hitmaker K.T. Oslin at the age of 78. The three-time Grammy-winning artist suffered from Parkinson’s disease for many years, and had been diagnosed with Covid-19 last week. 

Raised in Houston, Texas, Oslin majored in drama at Lon Morris and sang in a folk trio with Guy Clark as a young adult in her hometown. She found success appearing in musical stage productions in New York City and starting writing songs in her NY apartment. Her first country singles came out on Elektra Records in the early 80s, but failed to make much of a dent in the charts. It wasn’t until 1987 when, at the age of 45, she hit with her self-penned “80’s Ladies,” her first top-ten, CMA- and Grammy award-winning single, which pushed the album of the same name to the top of the C&W charts. She continued having hits through the early nineties, including her #1 singles “Hold Me” (which won her two further Grammys), “I’ll Always Come Back,” “Come Next Monday” and “Do Ya.” She also wrote songs for the Judds and Gail Davies. 

“K.T. brought an edge and an attitude that was missing in Country music in the 80’s and 90’s – especially among female singers,” said ACL executive producer Terry Lickona. “There weren’t many singers of any gender singing lyrics like ‘We were stoned rock and rollers in the 60’s.’ She helped pave the way for the new generation of women in Country to come.”

For the rest of her career Oslin alternated between acting and music, releasing six LPs in total, including 2001’s Live Close By, Visit Often, produced by the Mavericks’ Raul Malo, and her final album Simply in 2015. She appeared on Austin City Limits twice, in 1989 and 1992. Here she is with her closing number from the latter year, singing “Do Ya.”