Susanna Clark Dead, Legendary Songwriter and Painter Was 73
Susanna Clark, a former art teacher who penned songs including “Easy From Now On,” which was recorded by Emmylou Harris, Miranda Lambert and Carlene Carter, and also wrote tunes for Terri Clark, Rosanne Cash, and husband Guy Clark, died in her sleep Wednesday (June 27) in Nashville after a prolonged illness. She was 73.
A close friend of such songwriters as Townes Van Zandt and Rodney Crowell, she was also a painter whose work graced the covers of albums by Willie Nelson (Stardust), Emmylou Harris (Quarter Moon in a Ten Cent Town), Guy Clark (Old No. 1) and Nanci Griffith (Dust Bowl Symphony), among others.
Born in Atlanta, Texas, Susanna met Guy Clark in Oklahoma in 1969 and the couple moved to Nashville two years later.
“I just asked him what he wanted to do and he said, ‘Music,’” she said of the future member of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame (quote via the Tennessean) “I said, ‘Well, let’s do it.’ And he said, ‘That’s the first time a woman has ever asked me to quit a job.’”
The couple were married on songwriter Mickey Newbury’s houseboat in 1972 and their household soon became a hub of creative activity, with songwriters gathering there on a regular basis. She was first of those songwriters to score a hit single — with the first song she ever wrote. “I’ll Be Your San Antone Rose” was a Top 15 hit for Dottsy in 1975, the song was later covered by Emmylou Harris.
In 1978, Clark wrote “Easy From Now On” with Carlene Carter. A line from the song became the title of Emmylou’s Quarter Moon in a Ten Cent Town album, and inspired the now-iconic cover art painted by Clark.
“That’s the 10 cent town,” she told the Tennessean. “Since I wrote ‘Easy From Now On’ and she chose a line out of the song to use for the album cover, I got to paint my own song.’”
She also painted the cover art of Willie Nelson‘s legendary Stardust album, among others, and would go on to co-write (with Richard Leigh) Kathy Mattea‘s 1989 No. 1 country hit, “Come From the Heart.”
CMT reports Susanna Clark did not want a funeral or memorial service and that her wishes will be respected.
Watch Emmylou Harris Perform Susanna Clark’s ‘Easy From Now On’