Son of a Gun
Singer/songwriter/guitarist Clay McClinton's musical sound is woven together with rawhide and hemp, barbwire and willow reed. It's that eclectic sound born in Texas where honky tonk, Delta blues and soulful rock meld seamlessly. Clay's music introduces "alternative country" to "contemporary blues," and the two genres become fast friends. His new CD, Son of a Gun, boasts plenty of gutsy, gritty lyrics laid on a strong musical bed. "The Man I Wanna Be," is an inward-looking, country conversational tune with a haunting melody. Clay moves from there to the Texas romp of "Worn Down To The Bone," and the two-stepping lost-love tune, "Missing You," which is one of two songs on the album that he co-wrote with his dad, Delbert McClinton. Delbert provides backup vocals on "Missing You" and also co-wrote "Howlin' at the Moon." "This album has a lot more co-writes than my first one," Clay says. "I like writing by myself, and I have a lot of songs under my hat that I've written, but I'm enjoying co-writing as well. I've been in Nashville for a couple of years now, so I've expanded my circle of talented writer and musician friends." Like his debut CD, Out of the Blue, this project is mostly self-produced, with Delbert's keyboard player, Kevin McKendree, adding his ear to some of the cuts. "A Thing For You" was actually written in the studio with Kevin and Delbert when Clay brought in the musical base without lyrics. The only song Clay didn't write is "Listenin' to the Rain." One of the differences between his first CD and Son of a Gun is that Clay used mostly studio musicians for Out of the Blue. Now he has his own road band, and many of the cuts feature those musicians. His piano player, Andrew Bett, not only plays on most of the cuts, he also co-wrote "The Man I Wanna Be." Clay's drummer, Jim Evans, provides drums and percussion to all the cuts. "I have a great band, and since the release of my first CD, my focus has been on getting out of town," Clay says, "getting on the road and building fans one by one. We've done 140 dates this year, from Key West to Rockland, Maine, to Evergreen, Colorado." Few artists have pursued their careers with the clarity and conscious exploration that mark Clay's self-designed path. He grew up in Fort Worth, TX and began learning guitar and harmonica from both his father and older brother, Monty. At 16, he began to pursue music as a career more seriously. Being his father's son, it's not surprising that Clay's eclectic influences lean toward songwriters - Willie Nelson, Rodney Crowell, Bob Dylan, J.J. Cal.