Clay McClinton (www.claymcclinton.com, www.facebook.com/claymcclinton, www.myspace.com/claymcclinton, or www.twitter.com/claymcclinton) was raised around harmonicas, guitars, and pianos. Born in Fort Worth, TX he spent much of his childhood around a lot of talented musicians, during his teenage years he spent a couple of summers touring as a roadie for his dad. By the time he was seventeen Clay had already played in several bands and was occasionally sitting in on guitar with Delbert (www.delbert.com) during live performances. But it wasn’t until he graduated high school and moved to Austin, Texas in the mid-nineties that he began to focus more seriously on his music career. He later moved to Flagstaff,Arizona, where he started two bands, played a lot of shows locally, and met his future wife.
In 2003, he moved to Nashville to focus on writing and producing an album. He accomplished that goal in 2004 with the release of “Out of the Blue” which was co-produced with Vinny Constantine, and all the songs were either written or co-written by Clay. He toured across the US and even as far away as Norway, playing about 175 shows a year. In 2006 he returned to Nashville to record his second album “Son of a Gun”, which he co-produced with Kevin McKendree. In 2007 he returned to Austin to write his third album, “Livin’ Out Loud”, which was released in 2010. He plays regularly across Texas, at venues like the Granada Theater (www.granadatheater.com), the Saxon Pub (www.thesaxonpub.com) , and Luckenbach. He’s ready to get back on the road for another national tour. Clay recently answered 10 questions for me.
Who are your songwriting influences?
Mark Knopfler, Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Rodney Crowell, Townes Van Zandt, Hank Williams, Delbert McClinton
When and where was your first public performance?
1988, JJ’s Blues Bar, Fort Worth, TX
What was the first record or cd you purchased with your own money?
The soundtrack to Grease
What was the first live concert you attended?
I’m pretty sure that would be a Delbert McClinton show when I was about a month old.
Which venue would you most like to play that you haven’t yet/ and which is your favorite venue to play?
I’d like to play at The Back Yard in Austin, TX,
I really like most of the places that I play but the audiences at Gruene Hall and Luckenbach are pretty hard to beat.
What is the best career advice you’ve been given, and by whom?
“Take nothin’ personal” ~Delbert McClinton
Who are you listening to now?
Gary Nicholson, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Rodney Crowell, Foy Vance, Graham Wilkinson
What is your best story about life on the road?
I have a million road stories but here’s one that just came to mind. I’ll keep it vague to protect those involved but all I can say is…If you’re ever traveling through Utah in the middle of the night and your bass player needs to use the bathroom, you better hope that someone has packed some toilet paper because there are NO SERVICES and the desert is windy and merciless.
What recordings are available to the public and where can they be purchased?
I have 3 CDs available to the public. Out of the Blue, Son of a Gun, and Livin’ Out Loud. They all can be purchased on my website (www.claymcclinton.com), Amazon, iTunes, Rhapsody, CD Baby, etc. etc.
When and where are you playing next?
My next show is at Cypress Creek Cafe in Wimberley, TX on July 30th and then Luckenbach on August 6th.