My Show Biz Career Begins: Grandma would tell an unsuspecting guest that I could play by ear, then plop me into my high chair in front of the piano. Right on cue, I'd mash my ear against the keys, making an awful racket! I can still hear her laughing.
My fate was sealed from an early age. Is it any wonder my life has revolved around the sound of a piano? It's an ADDICTION, I tell you! That's the sheet music for "Black & White Rag" on the rack--and I still own that very copy!
High School: First Guitar and Little Sister. A Harmony guitar with strings like barbed wire, but I'm making a G chord in spite of the pain. Note the mini-skirt and cat's eye glasses. Little sister Julie is holding her own tiny plastic guitar.
First Real Rock N Roll Band With Richard, Bruce, Mark, and Steve in Southern Illinois. I was going for the Angela Davis look, but the permanents wrecked my hair!
In Erwin Helfer's front room. While in Chicago I had the privilege of studying with Erwin Helfer, master of traditional Chicago Blues Piano. Later I studied Jazz with Skip Green. They gave me a foundation that I still use every time I play.
We called ourselves "The Floozie and the Dude" Taken in a gritty alley in Chicago with Poor Howard Stith. Loved playing piano with H. on dobro! Loved backing him up on "Jack's Red Cheetah." Photo by Billy Prewitt
Once upon a time in Chicago... Zillions of gigs but too much snow!
Nickelodeon Gig in Chicago I felt right at home playing in this place where there were lots and lots of old time music-making machines that played the piano based/ragtime-ish music I love. These are from the era before juke boxes!
Photo by Bill Simonini. We were going for a certain MOOD, as I recall.
Chicagofest on Navy Pier. I can't count the number of pictures I have of me with my mouth wide open! Photo by Kirk West
Later in the day on Navy Pier. After the gig the pressure was off but I still hadn't closed my mouth!
Piano Keys in a Heart... I cried buckets when my Baldwin String Piano died in a van wreck during a blizzard while trying to get to an out of state gig, I saved the keys and pasted them on a giant heart for a memorial. That symbol became my logo, and now my tattoo!
Hiding behind the hair... Maybe clothes make the man, but hats make the girl.
College Coffeehouse Concert. I played more than 50 colleges in Illinois and Wisconsin. Wonderful listening audiences!
Cowgirl in the alley. Living on singer-songwriter gig money in Chicago kept me in a grim neighborhood. I wrote lots of songs about missing my farm town roots. The shirt was bright red satin. Photo by Billy Prewitt
Another gig, another hat. I know what song I was singing...the one about a love triangle between a tailor and a milkmaid and the milkmaid's cow.
Hanging with the boys in the band The joke with these guys was that I was going to have to gain a hundred pounds to fit in with the rest of them.
No, that's not a kazoo. I was sticking my tongue out at the photographer. The caption in the college newspaper read "Dana's Never Boring."
Maybe there was a full moon. Obviously I remained blissfully unaware of the transformation that was taking place beside me.
One of my favorite gigs! On the patio, Casbeers at the Church on a beautiful summer evening with Kevin Lewis. I miss you Steve and Barbara!
So many instruments, so little time. I want to clone myself so I can play them all at once.
Lewis and Clark Musical Expedition There is such freedom playing with Kevin. No matter what I do, he's two steps ahead of me.
My favorite photo of Lewis and Clark. Dear Mr. Lewis, You were Ms. Clark's favorite musical genius.
With Kit Holmes & Wave Harless. I love playing music with other women musicians. Photo by Jane Steig Parsons
Post-gig crazies. We were no fun at all.
Me and my new tattoo. I have wanted a tattoo ever since I found out Janis Joplin had one, but it took me a long time to figure out what image I wanted. Not sure why, since the perfect one had been staring me in the face the whole time. I'm THRILLED with it!
Photo by my daughter Annie. She's my favorite artist and photographer. My daughter Sarah has been my favorite roadie and sister-writer. How lucky can one woman be?
Me 'n' James...2013 Last time I was in NY, singing with James Brown. What a gig! I'll never forget it. And neither will anyone else who was at Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum that day. I had to be dragged away and sedated. I bet James still misses me.
Dana Clark and Jim Scott Concert at the Josephine Theater What a special evening! Jim and I traded songs about peace, environmental justice, aging, love, refugees, life and death!
Seattle Peace Chorus It was such an honor to participate in this concert! I acquired 30 new best friends from Seattle!