Beyond the Driver

Chicago cabbie is a novelist and singer-songwriter

CHICAGO IL - Though Chicago’s Jack Clark earns his living as a cab driver, he has won awards for the books he’s written, and recently two of his original songs have been picked up by recording artist Jay Ryan, an American who’s been living in France for the past twenty-five years.

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“I met Jack a couple of years ago at a gig in Montreuil,” said Ryan who fronts his own band, Jay & the Cooks. “While working on our album, I heard Jack sing some of his songs and I said to myself, ‘Why not ask him if I could use one or two on the record?’”

Ryan’s career in music began in Chicago in the late 1960s and led him first to Austin TX, then to New York’s lower East Side, and finally to France. “We added Jack’s ‘Cellblock C,’ and ‘Drinking and Thinking (About You)’ to our record. These are great songs,” Ryan said. “And Jack has plenty more waiting to be heard.”

Clark splits his time between Chicago and Paris, France. His private-eye novel, Westerfield’s Chain was a finalist for a Shamus Award in 2002. Nobody’s Angel is a mystery novel published in 2010 and features Chicago cabbie Eddie Miles. Clark landed an interview on NPR’s Fresh Air, talking about that book, and his long career as a Chicago cab driver and writer.

Born and raised in the Austin neighborhood as one of seven siblings, Clark is a high school dropout who wanted to be a writer since he was sixteen, when his dad handed him a copy of Nelson Algren’s The Man With the Golden Arm. His formal training is limited to the only college course he ever took - “Story and Journalism” at Columbia, chosen he said, because all the fiction courses were full.

Clark freelanced for The Chicago Reader for over twenty-five years and has also self-published several other books. “And I’ve a couple more books sitting at home which I’m hoping to get published,” he said.

“It’s been a real kick hearing my songs professionally recorded,” said Clark. “I’ve got more than forty songs written and hope more of them can be recorded someday. I’d also like to record my own CD.”

On Tuesday, March 29 Clark will perform a set of his original music at The Grafton Pub, 4530 N. Lincoln Avenue. Old Town School of Folk Music troubadour Mark Dvorak will also perform. The show begins at 9:30 and there is no cover.

The appearance is part of The Grafton’s new “Folk Tuesday” series, featuring performances, jam sessions and podcast recording sessions in their intimate fireplace room. For more information visit The Grafton online at www.thegrafton.com, or phone 773 271 9000.

Stay in touch • info@markdvorak.com • PO Box 181 • Brookfield IL 60513 • 312 315 4273