A Chip Off the Ol’ Gun

As the son of Grammy winner and country-rock legend Delbert McClinton, Clay McClinton was born with a remarkable musical lineage. While speaking to New Times just before the start of his U.S. tour, Clay says that he always knew he wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps but admits to at least one defining moment that pushed him into the life of a country-blues singer forever. “It was probably the first job I got, I started thinking ‘OK, I gotta figure out how to play music to make a living!’” Pressed with realization that he didn’t want to be a bartender or woodworker for the rest of his life, Clay delved deeply into music inspired by his heroes: Willie Nelson, J.J. Cale, and Bob Dylan. He relocated to Nashville and set to work on his debut album, Out of the Blue – an eclectic mixture of old-school Delta blues, energy-fueled honky tonk, and a sort of moody, alt-country sound that’s a bit more raw and real than what you’d expect to come out of Nashville. By the time his second record Son of a Gun was released in January, Clay had pushed his personal progression even farther down that path. “I’ll be straight-up, I don’t care for mainstream country,” he says without any reservation. “I grew up with Johnny Cash and Merle Haggard; those were my heroes. That should be kept alive. You don’t have to sound just like the next person to make it.” And Clay’s alt-country sound is uniquely his own – so check him out Friday at 9:30 p.m. at the Bamboo Room (25 South “J” St., Lake Worth). Tickets cost $12. Call 561-585-BLUE.
 
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