THE RISING STAR OF CLAY MELTON
Blues-rock prodigies are a special breed. They live and breathe the fiery swagger of electric guitars and the irresistible allure of rhythm-soaked sounds. That’s Clay Melton’s musical calling in a nutshell. The Louisiana-born and Texas-based blues-rocker has already spent years performing live. His powerfully raspy voice and wicked guitar licks leave no doubt he’s grown up in the school of barroom blues-rock. Clay Melton is quickly establishing himself as a rising star, most recently picked to open for Grand Funk Railroad on the Chevrolet Main Stage at the 2021 State Fair of Texas. Past credits also include opening for blues-legend Robert Cray and platinum-selling artist Chris Daughtry.
Happy New Year! How did you start yours off musically?
The year kicked off with a bang for us! We recorded our upcoming live album during a fantastic concert here in Texas. The night included special guests, Sir Earl Toon (original member of ‘Kool & The Gang’ fame), Evelyn Rubio, and Sarah Grace from the voice. We started the set with an Hour of mostly all new never heard before material. The evening was recorded by 5 time grammy award winning engineer, Malcolm Harper of Reelsound Recordings and video was captured by our longtime collaborator, Brandon Bond of Wizard Rainbow.
What hot sounds in the city should fans be listening to of yours right now?
There’s definitely no shortage of great music and musicians in Houston. Right now Houston favorites The Suffers have a brand new single out. Their singer Kam Franklin featured on a track from my first album (“Wind & Wave” off ‘Burn the Ships (2017)) and I’ve always loved their music since I got into their first record. There’s so many great artists here but to name a few more: The Mighty Orq, Bayou City Comeback Chorus, John Egan + lots more!
How has the reception been to new music?
I’m grateful that despite making and releasing during a pandemic, our latest EP, ‘Back to Blue’ was my most successful release to date. The title track hit #1 on the Blues Rock Single charts on Roots Music report and was spun on over 300 radio stations. I’m just thankful that people are giving the music a chance and hopefully enjoying it along the way!
What are you looking forward to most when you perform in front of an audience this year?
Performing live is one of the spoils of this life, at least to me. It’s part of the pay off of making albums and spending months putting together promotional plans. I’m looking forward to catching some new cities this year and returning to some of our favorites!
What was the intention set for your music?
The intention for this latest record, Back to Blue, was about getting back to my roots musically; to write the songs that just kind of come out of me when I pick up the guitar. Following that intent with this new live album set for release in June, I wanted to present new songs but in a different way than we had ever done before. The last EP we made it a point to come across in a way that is true to how we sound live so when it came time for the next album I thought “what better way to come across sonically like a live band than to just capture it live at a show?” Add in the element of people hearing these songs for the first time that night as well as these live versions being the first interpretation of these new songs our fans will hear. It leaves room for both my and our fan’s imaginations to maybe think “I wonder what these songs might sound like as a studio version” and from there the sky's the limit!
What was the most important message to impart with your music?
Lately a recurring theme has been self realization or honesty with yourself and those around you. Identifying your red flags or simply saying “here I am, flaws and all''. I felt like having time to self reflect through the pandemic left me ready to write those kinds of songs and approach myself with those sorts of sentiments.
How do you want your fans to treat themselves after listening to your music?
Let yourself get lost in the music! Music is universal, it’s healing and it’s something that brings us all together no matter what you choose to believe in and I find that really beautiful. So when a fan is listening I’d rather them to be able to escape and enjoy being elsewhere in that way. What you do when my music ends is out of my hands or intention but it’s my hope that my music can do for others what music has done for me. Pull me up or sit me down when needed and lose myself long enough to come out of it with the perspective I need to love myself and those I care about in a fulfilling way.
What is a song of yours that you have on repeat right now to set the mood for 2022?
While I don't make a routine out of jamming to my own music (I get about 5000+ listens in from the time I write them to the time they’re released haha) I would say our new tune “Runner” has been fueling me and keeping me excited about the direction of the band this year. The song stylistically reminds me of one of my favorite bands from my home state of Louisiana, The Meters and it’s one of those songs I find that when we’ve been performing it live recently the whole room is bobbing their head and that always brings a smile to the whole band!
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