Native Louisvillian Mickey Clark’s unlikely musical journey began in 1962, when he had just arrived as a first year grad student at Purdue and met a freshman from Chicago, Larry Foster, who played the 12-string guitar and was a talented singer/songwriter. They formed a duo and began playing gigs on campus and then added Ethan Kenning, becoming a trio, the Village Singers, and started playing coffee houses in Chicago, Florida and New York. Ethan left and formed the folk rock/psychedelic rock group, HP Lovecraft, and Larry and Mickey teamed up with Marita Crites, whom Larry later married, and formed the New Village Singers folk group in Dayton, Ohio. After signing a management agreement with Marty Erlichman, who managed Barbra Streisand, the group moved to New York in 1965 and became a successful folk rock group, The Three of Us. The group played the top folk clubs, recorded for Kapp Records, were guests on the Mike Douglas Show and did college concerts, but after Larry got drafted in 1966, the group disbanded. After a second attempt at a master’s degree at Indiana University, Mickey moved back to New York. In 1969, he married his wife, Sandy, and they moved to Nashville in late 1970, after Mickey signed a writer’s contract with the Glaser Brothers in Nashville.
While living in New York, Mickey had begun to play the national College Coffee House Circuit, both as a solo act and as a duo with Mickey White, and he continued playing college coffee houses and folk clubs after moving to Nashville. In 1974, the night before the Bob Dylan and The Band Tour 1974 Tour opened in Chicago, Bob Dylan heard Mickey perform with Mickey White at Chicago’s historic Earl of Old Town. When Bob Dylan was interviewed by Rolling Stone’s Ben Fong-Torres ten days later, Mickey was mentioned as a possible artist Dylan would like to sign to his Ashes and Sand label, a label that, unfortunately, never materialized. The full interview appears in the Rolling Stone book about that 1974 tour, “Knockin’ on Dylan’s Door.”
Mickey Clark is a veteran performer and a respected songwriter, with his songs having been recorded by the Kingston Trio, Tompall and the Glaser Brothers, the Oak Ridge Boys, Jerry Lee Lewis, Glen Yarbrough and the Peter Yarrow-produced group, Jericho Harp. Along Mickey’s musical highway, he met and befriended such icons as Jerry Jeff Walker, John Prine, Kinky Friedman and Sam Bush, and they all stepped up to be special guests on his 2009 “Winding Highways” CD, along with Robin & Linda Williams, Turley Richards and the late Tim Krekel. The CD was produced in Nashville by Grammy winning producer, Jim Rooney, and was named 2009 Album of the Year by the Academy of Western Artists in Texas.
Jeffrey Lee Puckett, music critic for the Louisville Courier-Journal, had this to say about the CD:
“The Winding Highways CD shows why Mickey Clark is so highly regarded, with classic country-folk such as "Shanty Boat Bill," a song built on fine detail and real emotion. Guest stars John Prine, Jerry Jeff Walker, Kinky Friedman and Sam Bush add star power to an already sparkling set.”
And Michael Young, the longtime host of WFPK’s Roots ‘n Boots radio show, added:
“Set Guy Clark's lyrics to Jimmy Buffet's melodies and you have Mickey Clark. My first reaction to “Winding Highways” was 'how could I have I lived in Kentucky all this time and NOT know Mickey Clark?' This album will take you out west, along the border, to the hills of Kentucky, and through the echoes of your mind.”
The acclaimed New York writer, David McGee, gave the “Winding Highways” CD a long and glowing review, and it can be seen here:
In 2011, Mickey was a special solo guest on John Prine’s annual Christmas show at Nashville’s historic Station Inn, and you can see the video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Qq9EL1SDrE
Mickey formed his Blue Norther band in 2009 and began playing locally and around the region, highlighted with a 2010 appearance at the prestigious Philadelphia Folk Festival. Featuring Tom Cunningham on fiddle and later, Jory Hutchens, on fiddle, Chip Bush (Sam Bush’s cousin) on mandolin, Dale Perry on guitar and Marty Miller on bass, their blend of roots music, country, alt country and originals is accentuated with great vocal harmonies.
Mickey’s follow up CD, “Reasons & Rhymes,” was co-produced by Mickey and Jim Rooney, released in June of 2014, and features the Blue Norther band along with special guests Michael Cleveland and Reggie Harris. The title song, “Reasons and Rhymes,” is a tribute to his wife, Sandy, and is his musical anthology of sorts. The record received an endorsement from the legendary Gordon Lightfoot, who had this to say about the record, “What a jim dandy album you have here! Great vocals, great songs, great lyrics, great arrangements. Good luck. Gordon.”
And once again, New York-based David McGee gave the CD a glowing review in his Deep Roots magazine, naming it his CD of the Week along with Tom Paxton’s newest release.
Currently, you will find Mickey playing occasional gigs with the Blue Norther band and duo and trio gigs with Dale Perry and Marty Miller, as well as solo gigs.
Web Site: Facebook: www.facebook.com/MickeyClarkMusic