W. C. Clark: The Godfather of Austin Blues and Texas Blues Legend


In the heart of Texas, where the blues find a home amidst the sweltering heat and the soulful twang of guitars, one man emerged as a legend, leaving an indelible mark on the Austin blues scene. W. C. Clark, the Godfather of Austin Blues, is a name synonymous with the raw, emotive power of the genre. In his younger years, he carved a path to fame through sheer talent, dedication, and a commitment to preserving and advancing the blues tradition.

W.C. Clark – The God Father of Austin Blues
W. C. Clark, was born Wesley Curley Clark on November 16, 1939, in Austin, Texas, was introduced to the world of music at an early age. Growing up in a neighborhood steeped in the blues, he absorbed the sounds of the greats like T-Bone Walker and B.B. King. It wasn’t long before Clark’s musical prowess became evident, and he picked up the guitar, setting the stage for a lifelong love affair with the blues.

Clark’s ascent to fame in Austin was marked by his unparalleled live performances. His dynamic stage presence and ability to connect with audiences elevated him to a local sensation. His guitar skills, soulful vocals, and an uncanny ability to channel the essence of the blues resonated with both seasoned blues enthusiasts and newcomers alike.

During the 1960s and 1970s, Clark became a fixture in the Austin blues scene. His performances at iconic venues like Antone’s, the legendary blues club founded by Clifford Antone, solidified his reputation as a force to be reckoned with. As the go-to guitarist for blues giants touring through Austin, Clark further honed his craft and expanded his musical horizons.

His impact on the Austin blues scene transcended his role as a performer. His commitment to nurturing local talent earned him the title of the Godfather of Austin Blues. Recognizing the need to preserve the blues legacy, Clark mentored aspiring musicians, imparting his knowledge and passion for the genre.

As a mentor, Clark played a pivotal role in shaping the careers of numerous Austin and Texas blues musicians. His influence extended beyond the stage, creating a supportive community that fueled the growth of the blues in the region. Through collaborations and shared experiences, Clark helped foster a vibrant blues culture that endures to this day.

W. C. Clark’s career is a testament to his versatility and innovation within the blues genre. His debut album, “Something for Everybody,” released in 1976, showcased his ability to seamlessly blend blues, soul, and funk. The album earned critical acclaim and solidified Clark’s status as a pioneer in the evolution of blues music.

Over the years, Clark continued to release albums that reflected his musical evolution. His ability to infuse traditional blues with contemporary elements kept his sound fresh and relevant. Tracks like “Cold Shot” and “Funny How Time Slips Away” highlighted Clark’s prowess as a songwriter and interpreter, further contributing to the evolution of the blues.

W. C. Clark’s musical influences were diverse, ranging from blues legends like T-Bone Walker to the soulful sounds of Ray Charles. His ability to draw inspiration from various genres allowed him to create a distinctive style that resonated with a broad audience. Clark’s fusion of blues, soul, and funk laid the groundwork for a new generation of musicians exploring the boundaries of the genre.

The legacy of W. C. Clark is felt not only through his own recordings but also through the countless artists he inspired and mentored. His impact on the Austin blues scene is immeasurable, as he paved the way for a thriving community of musicians who continue to carry the torch of the blues tradition.

W. C. Clark, the Godfather of Austin Blues, remains a living testament to the enduring power of the blues. His journey from a young guitarist in Austin to a legendary figure in the blues world is a story of passion, dedication, and a commitment to preserving a musical heritage. Through his music, mentorship, and influence, W. C. Clark has left an indelible mark on the blues, solidifying his place as a true icon of Austin’s vibrant musical tapestry.

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