I Write Songs
'A young and gritty voice that knows what it takes to move people.' - Mike Eli (of the Eli Young Band) At just twenty-one years old, J. D. Clark is already displaying a wit and wisdom in his songwriting that most people attain only after many years of living. He is quickly growing in popularity for his honest, insightful songwriting and his unique blend of styles into something completely his own. When asked how long he has been writing, Clark answers, "For as long as I can remember." However, he didn't pick up a guitar and start writing songs until he was nineteen. "I don't know where the songwriting came from. Music has always been very important to me, and so has writing, so I think I just naturally evolved into a songwriter," he explains. "With that first song, I saw it bring tears to some people's eyes, and it changed me. I realized that I could help people deal with problems by tackling my own life's issues in lyrics." Since then, Clark has continued to mature both musically and lyrically, while along the way drawing comparisons to a variety of musicians and styles. It is a sound that is difficult to categorize, something Clark himself is the first to admit. "I don't really know what to call it," he laughs. "I call it folk rock a lot lately. It's alternative country, roots rock, Texas country, Americana. I don't care what people call it as long as they listen to it." The ambiguity in genre is a result of Clark's many musical influences, which include such songwriting talents as Todd Snider, Hayes Carll, Ryan Adams, Jack Ingram, Willie Nelson, and Bob Dylan. "I don't set out trying to write songs that sound like one person or another," he explains. " I just have all these influences jumbled in my head, and whatever comes out somehow works. I just write what is inside me. I write whatever I'm living at the time." While Clark may be hard-pressed to categorize his songs, listeners are quick to embrace the end result. Clark has seen his stock in the Texas music scene rising as he tours across the state, drawing acclaim from crowds and, an even tougher audience, other artists. Through a series of solo acoustic shows and coveted opening slots for some of the state's most talented performers, Clark is reaching out and spreading his wise, carefully-crafted songs to as many people as he can. "What I am hearing more and more from people after they listen to my songs is that they appreciate the honesty," Clark says. "If I'm writing a song, then you can be sure it's about something that I feel very passionately about. I don't hold anything back when I'm writing, because it's the cheapest form of therapy I know, and it really let's people inside my head. My goal is that when they leave a show, they'll not only feel like they know me but also like they know more about themselves." Clark recently released his new EP, I Write Songs, co-produced by Scott Horner and Phil Pritchett and featuring the talents of longtime Jack Ingram drummer Pete Coatney. "I was excited to work with Scott, Phil, and Pete on this record," Clark says, "and I'm even more excited with the finished product. It's a five-song EP, and it's a great way for people to get to know me and understand what I do before I release the full-length album."