Willie’s Picnic: Celebrating America through Guy Clark’s ‘Immigrant Eyes’

July 1, 2019
Austin360 by Austin-American Statesman

She wove together various sources of film for the video, including shots of her father singing and playing guitar, historical clips from the Library of Congress and footage from rallies she attended at the Texas Capitol last year and at a South Texas detention center in 2015.

Participants in that 2015 demonstration, organized in part by Texas organization Grassroots Leadership, called for a shutdown of what was then the largest immigration detention center in the nation. “I felt that was a s sad as it could get. I had no idea where we were headed,” Amy says.

Amy will also perform at this year’s Picnic with Folk Uke, which includes Cathy Guthrie, daughter of folk singer Arlo Guthrie. They’ll play a short set on the main stage during a set change before Jamey Johnson’s performance.

Folk Uke’s material centers on humor rather than politics, but Amy said she might use the occasion to raise awareness about immigration issues. After O’Rourke’s appearance at the 2018 Picnic, the door seems open for more activism at the Independence Day event.

“Dad doesn’t get on the soapbox very often; he usually just does his show,” she notes. “But maybe I’ll say something. I’ll try to get people to support Grassroots Leadership, because they are doing some amazing stuff.”

If nothing else, she points out, Clark’s “Immigrant Eyes” speaks for itself. “I’d never heard Guy sing it until after Dad recorded it,” she said. “We’re hearing it with different ears today, now that this reality has set in.”