Cribbing a line from one of Guy Clark’s songs, Without Getting Killed or Caught employs no fancy tricks, just three chords and the truth, to tell the trials and tribulations of Clark’s career. But you can’t really tell Clark’s story without telling the story of his wife, painter and songwriter Susanna Clark. Then again, it’s hard to tell Susanna’s story without talking about musician Townes Van Zandt—Susanna’s soul mate and Clark’s best friend.

Directors Tamara Saviano and Paul Whitfield make room for Susanna and Van Zandt, and Rodney Crowell, Vince Gill, Steve Earle—if you want to get to know someone, you have to start with their friends. Saviano and Whitfield relish in these alcohol-soaked stories with the golden hue of a sunset. Nostalgia permeates every aspect of the film, but Clark and Susanna’s relationship comes across the strongest. You get the feeling they fit each other nicely, even when they didn’t. If they didn’t already write country music, someone would have suggested they ought to. Now playing in limited theaters.

A version of the above review first appeared in the pages of Boulder Weekly Vol. 28, No. 30, “Play these movies loud.”