“Without Getting Killed or Caught” opens Friday in Austin as kickoff to a nationwide rollout.
Without Getting Killed or Caught, the acclaimed documentary about Texas-born songwriting great Guy Clark, will tour theatres throughout the United States this summer and fall. After premiering their cinematic portrait of the country music icon last March at the 2021 SXSW Film Festival, where it received the prestigious Louis Black Lone Star Award, filmmakers Tamara Saviano and Paul Whitfield have opted to carve out an unconventional independent movie release. By doing so, they hope to reach Guy Clark fans in cities where Guy toured, performed, and was passionately embraced by admirers.
“Guy Clark has a passionate, expansive, worldwide fan base and we know how to reach them,” says writer/director/producer Tamara Saviano. “We started this journey at SXSW 2021, followed it up with super successful limited virtual screenings, and now we will take it to the cities and towns where Guy loved to play. Like the music business, the film business is ripe for entrepreneurs and independent thinkers to carve their own distribution path. This part is much more fun than making the film!”
The Without Getting Killed or Caught tour kicks off Friday, July 23, in Austin, following by premieres in five other Texas cities (Dallas, Plano, Houston, Abilene, and San Antonio) July 30. After that, the film will open in Nashville, Chicago, Milwaukee, Boston, San Francisco, Charlottesville, Los Angeles and New York before the end of September. Additional dates will be added in October and November. For a complete listing of participating theatres and dates as they are added, check out www.WithoutGettingKilledorCaught.com.
“This tour will give the audience a chance to see Guy larger than life on the big screen and hear his music in high fidelity,” says director/producer Paul Whitfield. “And we can celebrate with Guy’s fans. Guy loved being on the road, and this feels like a great way to honor him.”
Among his most famous compositions: “Desperados Waiting for a Train” (recorded by Jerry Jeff Walker in 1973, Slim Pickens in 1981, and The Highwaymen in 1985), “L.A. Freeway,” “The Last Gunfighter Ballad,” “Heartbroke,” and “She’s Crazy For Leavin’.” Often hailed as a “songwriter’s songwriter,” he was elected to the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2004, and received the prestigious Poets Award from the Academy of Country Music in 2013.
Clark also received a unique tribute from friends and collaborators in 2012: This One’s for Him, a double-CD of songs he had written or co-written, featured performances by such notables as Willie Nelson, Rosanne Cash, Vince Gill, Lyle Lovett, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Emmylou Harris, and John Prine.
During a career that spanned five decades, Clark recorded several albums as a performer, three of which — Old Friends, Keepers, and Workbench Songs — were Grammy Award finalists. My Favorite Picture of You, released in 2014, received a Grammy for best folk album. In 2005, Clark and fellow songwriter Darrell Scott gave live performances of their songs (including Clark’s “Homeless” and “She Ain’t Going Nowhere”) for the Nashville Ballet’s world premiere of Postcards from the Boys, choreographer Sarah Slipper’s acclaimed program of six dances based on their music.
In 2016, Houston Chronicle writer Andrew Dansby eloquently eulogized Clark — who began his career on the Houston folk music circuit in the 1960s — as “one of the great Texas songwriters of the 20th century,” rivaled only by Willie Nelson and Townes Van Zandt. Clark, Dansby wrote, was “an artist who took unassuming characters and mundane happenings and projected them into narratives with epic scope. Crowds came to see his rare gifts as a storyteller, a tall performer of gravity and nuance who commanded silence. Off the stage, this respected luthier retreated to his workbench in Nashville and built beautiful flamenco-style guitars. The image of Clark, sleeves rolled, working with wood or words, earned him a reputation as a craftsman, a word that became the title of one of his recordings. Workbench Songs was another. But Clark’s methodical process for creating things obscured a bright creative fire. He was a craftsman like other craftsmen — Faulkner, Twain, Picasso — which is to say he was an artist first. Clark's frame of choice wasn't a book cover or a canvas, but rather the four-minute folk song. Within it he built worlds.”
Here is a 2005 performance by Clark — along with his sidekick Verlon Thompson and special guest Ramblin’ Jack Elliott — at the Sierra Nevada Brewery Big Room.