The new documentary tells the story of the late singer-songwriter's life and career from his wife Susanna's point of view

By Maria Pasquini
March 18, 2021 05:20 PM
Advertisement

Guy Clark wasn't afraid to break the country music mold.  

The Texas singer-songwriter, who died in 2016, is the focus of a new documentary called Without Getting Killed or Caught, which had its world premiere at the annual South by Southwest festival on Thursday. 

In addition to chronicling Clark's career, as well as his relationship with wife Susanna and his friendship with fellow singer-songwriter Townes Van Zandt, the film includes reflections from some of today's country music stars.  

In a clip from the documentary shared with PEOPLE, Vince Gill speaks on the impact Clark's music had on other musicians, who weren't interested in a cookie-cutter career. 

Vince Gill, Guy Clark
Vince Gill, Guy Clark
| Credit: Tibrina Hobson/Getty; Erika Goldring/Getty

"People started to see the impact of songs that weren't lil darling songs, as they called them. It was a little more thoughtful kind of songwriting going on," the country star, 63, said in the documentary. 

"Seeing those kinds of things happen is inspiring to people who aren't trying to put on a rhinestone outfit and have a career as a singer of country songs," he continued, adding of Clark, "He knew what he wanted to be. He knew how he wanted to sound. Every word mattered in every song. So that's clarity at its best." 

"Never did write hit songs for country music radio," Clark said in a quote included in the film. 

"Not everyone's a country singer, I'm still not a country singer. I just write songs and play them," he added.

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.

Without Getting Killed or Caught, which is narrated by Academy Award-winning actress Sissy Spacek, tells the story of Clark's life and music from his wife Susanna's point of view.

The documentary from Tamara Saviano and Paul Whitfield draws on both his wife's personal diaries, as well as Saviano's 2016 book on the singer-songwriter.

In addition to Gill, a number of Clark's friends and peers also make appearances, including Rodney Crowell, Steve Earle, Verlon Thompson, and Terry and Jo Harvey Allen, and record executive Barry Poss.