Workbench Songs

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Master songwriter Guy Clark doesn’t rush anything—he’s released only 11 studio albums in the last 32 years, and the most recent was The Dark, way back in 2002. It’s easy to imagine him spending the intervening years chipping away at these songs like a sculptor, until only the essence of each remained. There isn’t a wasted word or note among the 11 tracks on Workbench Songs, whether Guy and his co-writers— including Rodney Crowell, Lee Roy Parnell and Guy’s trusty right-hand man, Verlon Thompson—are aiming for whimsy (“Tornado Time in Texas”), emotional resonance (“Magdalene”) or both (“Funny Bone”).