Nashville Music Guide: Clay McClinton, Cruising the Americana Way

Publicizing Singers, Writers & Musicians to Music Row & Beyond Since 1995

September 2012 / Volume 17 / Issue 176

Cruising the Americana Way

I believe Clay McClinton expresses the true Americana way. An exact mixture of blues, folk, bluegrass, and country, his music pulls you in. Just as people will see a photo and take away with them different views on what they saw, the same is true for Clay’s music. They might hear rockabilly; some will describe him as a mix of folk and rockabilly, and some will say he’s traditional country. In truth Clay is a little of all those and more. Clay’s current album is “Living Out Loud” and his also working on another due out in early 2013.

Knowing that his Dad has been a big influence I wondered who else might have inspired him to make music his career and why? Clay said, “Willie Nelson was always a big inspiration to me because I was a round him a lot from a young age. My Dad did a lot of shows with Willie. All the great Texas songwriters like Rodney Crowell, Guy Clark. They played a big part in my decisions to make music my life’s work.” He said that if he hadn’t decided on music he would have been a carpenter.

Clay’s touring around the country visiting towns and cities in Colorado, New York and Washington DC and will be in Nashville TN at 3rd & Lindsley on August 26, 2012. Clay will also tour Europe this year doing a Norway Cruise for two days in Oslo and will also be appearing with a long line of entertainers on the Delbert McClinton Sandy Beaches Cruise in January 2013.

I asked Clay what was the first song he ever sang in public, where it was and how old he was. He said, “Well, it was in Chicago, New Years Eve, around 1988 or 89, I was 14 years old and I think the song was “Standing on Shaky Ground.”

Fans around the world are always asking for autographs and I asked Clay if he could remember what the craziest thing was that he had ever autographed? He said, “Well, I have autographed a lot stuff…I think maybe boots, golf clubs, and a key, autographing the key was odd.”

I asked Clay what he would say had been the most memorable show/tour so fat in his career and what happened that make it stand out above all the rest? Clay said, “A memorable moment was when I opened up for Taj Mahal during 9/11 when our country was attacked. It was very emotional. The show was supposes to be canceled but he (Taj Mahal) said no way. It was a very spirited and an extremely emotional moment. He said he wasn’t going to let any terrorist stop us from sharing happiness and not enjoy life. I’ll never forger it.”

Clay said his ideas for his music are about real things that people can relate to and some are related to him. It just depends on the mood. He said he’s always looking for new ways to gain inspiration for song writing.

For more information on Clay, his tour, and his music please visit

Story by Sherryl Craig

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