Clay McClinton to perform

Daily News Journal

Murfreesboro, Tn

By Cindy Watts

May 12, 2005

Clay McClinton's last name may sound a bit familiar to many music fans. His dad, Delbert McClinton, has been around for decades. Songs like "Sandy Beaches" and "Good Man/Good Woman" as well as song-writing credits for Garth Brooks, The Blues Brothers and Martina McBride, catapulted the elder McClinton into the spotlight more than three decades ago.

Now Delbert's son Clay wants to follow in his father's well-lit footsteps. Clay will continue on his path to stardom tonight when he plays Murfreesboro's Bunganut Pig in Georgetown Park.

"The show will be a collaboration of original and cover songs," says Clay, with an audible Texas accent. "Some people call it Americana. It's country and rock and jazz and blues, all the stuff that falls through the cracks. It's Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Tom Waites and my Dad all rolled together. On the CD it's pretty upbeat and it all seems to tie together."

Clay readily admits his father is a major influence, but says he wants to appeal to younger fans, too. "Some of the songs have a roots kind of old-time sound," he explains. "I want to keep my music fresh and new, but you can definitely hear the influences from some of the old greats. My Dad has definitely played a role in where my music takes me, but I like good-feeling music, and I want a younger group to latch on. I want Dad's fan base to like what I'm doing, too, because that's where some of my first fans have come from."

At nearly 30 years old, Clay says he spent much of his childhood observing the ups and downs of the music industry, but adds the roller-coaster ride didn't deter him from wanting to be a part of it himself.

"Growing up I saw firsthand what the music business is about," he explains. "Other kids had things I didn't have, but I can't imagine doing anything else. This is all I ever wanted to do, and I think I would have been a musician even if I wasn't raised in it. But what an opportunity." In later years Clay says he's developed an interest in songwriting and recently made the move to Nashville from Texas to cultivate that talent. "I've really gotten interested in songwriting in the last two or three years," he says. "I've been co-writing with Dad some and I've gotten into writing with other people since I moved here. It's a great way to express life and other people's lives. It's a release, and at the same time I love it, too. It's fun to get together and make something out of nothing."

Clay says in the few years he's been songwriting, he's learned how easy it is to get attached to his work. "They say songs are like your children," he explains. "You love all of them and it's hard to have a favorite." However, if the young musician was forced to choose a favorite off his latest CD, he says it would probably be "Texas Memory," which he plans to play tonight. "It's about my past and kind of like my bio, in short," says Clay. "It's a pretty personal song to me. It's a whole 'nother world on stage."

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