Artist to Watch: Joy Clark
There’s lots of hot shot guitarists out there, but few bring a deep sense of joy to the table with them. That’s not meant to be a pun, but Joy Clark is literally an artist to watch — not only are her songs a soothing balm to a worried heart, watching Clark onstage is medicine in itself. Her deep sense of wellbeing radiates throughout the room, which is perhaps why she’s been picked up as a backing guitarist in Allison Russell’s band.
Clark was proudly born and raised in New Orleans, a city with a culture so robust with music that it is possible to work as a full-time musician without touring nationally. In a city where nearly everyone plays an instrument, Clarke had a strong reputation and made her way to Nashville with Lilli Lewis for AmericanaFest in 2021. Clark hit it off with other residents of the famed Black Opry House, which over the course of the festival evolved into an artist collective and traveling revue.
Clark’s music is rhythmic like the pull of the tide, likely due to her growing up playing guitar in church while her brother played drums – with no bass. This urged Clark to handle both the groove and the melody. That, along with her quiet joy, has brough her to the stage of the Grammys to play with Allison Russell, and towards breaking longstanding racist, sexist, and homophobic barriers in the country music industry.
“I sort of approach music the way I approach life,” Clark told The Boot. “I listen before I say what I need to say. When I pick up my guitar, I play first and listen to whatever emotion I need to express at that point. I see music/songwriting as a cosmic conversation with myself. I don’t always know where it’s going, but I always have faith it’ll lead me to something really cool.”
Take a listen to Clark's latest track, "Good Thing," below: