UPDATE: Terri Clark was awarded the Juno for country album of the year at the 2012 Juno Awards. For more on the awards, visit cbcmusic.ca/Junos. Here is our interview with Clark prior to the awards:
Over the course of her career, which spans 17 years and eight albums, Terri Clark has been nominated for an impressive total of 14 Juno Awards, spanning such categories as country female vocalist of the year, best new solo artist and best female artist.
She has won twice.
“For whatever reason, the Junos have been very elusive to me,” Clark admits, and you can almost hear her shrug over the phone from Nashville, where the native of Medicine Hat, Alta., has lived since 1988.
Clark has a chance for redemption this weekend, when her album Roots and Wings competes for country album of the year against Jimmy Rankin, Doc Walker, Jason McCoy and High Valley. Clark calls Roots and Wings the most personal album of her career. For many artists, that’s just a stock answer ready to be supplied to journalists. For Clark, it’s the painful truth.
Her mother, Linda, passed away after a long battle with cancer in April 2010. Clark and her mother were extremely close, and in the aftermath of her death Clark wrote “Smile,” which is the record’s heart and soul.
“That song is one that I had to sit in a room and sing many, many times by myself, without any human beings around, to be able to get through it,” says Clark of the song, which features Alison Krauss singing backup. “And when I play it now there’s not a dry eye in the place. It’s meant to be shared. I believe music is meant to be shared, especially something that’s inspired by somebody who is so important in my life, and who gave me life, and who actually said that to me in the last moments of her life – she said I want you to smile. And what makes me smile is sharing music with people.”
On a more lighthearted note, Roots and Wings, which was released last July, features a cover of Trooper’s classic CanRock anthem “We’re Here for a Good Time,” which Clark says she’s loved since its release in 1977.
“We had a real ball with that particular track,” she says. “I love the song. I love the sentiment. I love that it’s so elementary, you know. It’s fun. It’s summertime. It represents that festive spirit. And it’s quintessential Canadian, too. For all those reasons I thought it would be fun to make an updated version of it.”
She also recorded an updated version of a song she’d never included on any album, “Lonesome’s Last Call,” which Clark originally wrote when she was 22 years old (she’s now 43).
“The song always sounded like a classic to me,” Clark says. “It sounded like something you could have heard on the radio in 1968. And I’m a real sucker for traditional country.”
Clark, whose country credentials can’t be denied (she’s a member of the Grand Ole Opry, for starters) says she’s already writing material for her next record.
“I’m not ready to retire, and I think I have some of the best music of my life coming up,” she says, confidently. “As long as [the fans] are still looking for something from me – enough to buy a ticket and come see me play – I have to keep creating. I want to keep people engaged and I want them to feel connected to what I’m doing. And honestly, I don’t know what else I would do.”
• Visit cbcmusic.ca/Junos for complete coverage of the 2012 Juno Awards.
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Full coverage: 2012 Juno Awards
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on Mar 26, 2012