Part Two – In presenting part two of my interview with Clay Shelburn, I want to discuss his new CD, so we will pick up the conversation where I asked about his C.D. Release plans. You can find Part One <—HERE when you click on this link, if you haven’t read it yet.
Can you share details about the label, the studio or the engineers that worked on the new CD with us?, I asked Clay, as we sat down to snack on a sandwich on the evening of Annika Chambers’ 30th Birthday Party at The Big Easy, in Houston TX. Clay’s lovely wife Tiffany was there as well.
“Yeah! We recorded a lot of the rhythm tracks at a place called Playhouse in Wylie. I don’t know. I think it’s kind of semi-private, like you have to know them. My engineer knows the guy, so we were able to use it.” What is your engineer’s name? “Bradley Prakope. He’s really good. He’s got a great ear.” So, you like to use him for your engineering? “I do. Bradley did my first record 5 years ago, and did a fantastic job on this one as well. He used to be in Dallas and is now in Nashville where ‘I Feel a Sin’ was recorded at 1092 studios. 5 years’ worth of all of us honing our respective crafts made MY sound everything I hoped it would be and more! Audio Dallas was another studio we did overdubs in, as well as my producer, Josh Goode’s, private studio.”
What was the name of that first CD, and how do I get one? “It is called ‘Broke Down & Blue’ <—(LINK), and it’s available on iTunes. The track that performed the best off that was ‘Fullmoonshine’, but people really connected with ‘Little Angel’ too. I didn’t really push anything to radio with a promoter on that CD, but a couple of awesome people Mike Crow and Jim Nash from 106.9 The Ranch spun ‘Fullmoonshine’ for me a bunch of times. 95.9 The Ranch has done it too.
Do you have someone in promotion working on your radio distribution? “I do. I have a guy that has really great connections with radio and promo. He knows what charts and radio stations to contact. He’s connected nationwide. He’s a good family friend as well.”
So far, Clay and Tiffany tell me, they have kept as much of the business workings between just the two of them. Tiffany offers up a piece of advice her dad once told her. “My dad was his own business owner, and he said that you are the only two people you can really trust at the end of the day, because only you have each others best interest, and you have to work through keeping that going.” I’m glad you guys are on that, I say, when Clay adds, “This one here is to business as I am to music. She’s just gifted. It’s so nice to have the honest wife that I’ve always dreamed of. She really is a blessing. I got a complete ‘Mulligan’ with this one.” (laughing) There was a lot more about how they ended up together, as they have quite a long history, but I think it’s safe to say they are both very happy and feel fortunate that their roads intertwined and came to the same destination.
With the release of the new album Clay is set to tour the nation to promote it, and then internationally after that. He tells me he is really big in Brazil! They are also getting things together for a U.K. Tour next Spring, hopefully.
What would you like your fans to know that is important to you? “Honesty is important to me. It’s a big part of my life. I’ve been burned by liars. I don’t like liars and thieves. I try to promote positivity. I like doing things for people without expecting anything back, paying it forward. There’s so much doom and gloom in the world now, I just want to be as positive as I can every day and make somebody smile. That’s really what my goal is. My music. I want to use whatever musical platform I have to spread a positive message.”
Review of CD:
(Click on photo for link to purchase.)
The first thing that struck me was the quality of the production. VERY professional sound. “Young Country” seems to be the pervading sound on most of the tracks. I usually review Blues, but this CD actually transcends genre, and is full of good songs, period. ‘A Day At A Time’ is a softer sound than most of the tracks, with smooth backing vocals and a nice message for everyone. ‘Black Widow’, in contrast, is gritty- funky – fun with a darker story. A warning, if you will, about a woman who is up to no good. Not surprisingly, it is my favorite song on the album. That and ‘Dance With Me’, probably the biggest “Hit” if I dare to speculate. It is just so well done, and a great story to be told of a young man’s budding interest in a young woman. The stuff dreams are made of. Very catchy too. Clay’s voice is so right on track in so many ways. He has great pitch, control, and smooth delivery that can crescendo to gut-wrenching drama in the blink of an eye. Again, professional. Soulful. Bluesy. ‘Ever After’ is obviously a tribute to his sweet lady. A thank you for saving him after heavy heartbreak. His electric leads are right on track. Just the right number of notes. Tasteful. He definitely isn’t one of those guys that just wail away forever on his guitar until you wish the song would end. In fact, I found myself wishing the songs would go on longer. He has perfected that ‘leave them wanting more’ element to songwriting that I find very refreshing. There is never a dull moment, or a song that you scratch your head over, wondering why he bothered to put it on the album. They all fit together nicely, and the album is a pleasure to listen to all the way through. ‘Falling For You’ is another great song I could imagine hearing on just about any radio station format. It’s got some nice organ and horns to fill it out too. ‘Flavors of Funkytown’ is a chance for Clay to show his stuff on the guitar. It’s an instrumental foray into a more funk/rock sound, but it never gets old, due to the interesting twists and turns it takes, and the highly capable guitar work. ‘I feel A Sin Coming On’ is another “Hit” for sure. As good as anything I’ve heard on the Country stations. Clay’s songwriting is exceptional. I never hear a line I think should’ve been worded differently. He’s really good at telling a story with just the right verse. Very poetic. Clay’s songs get stuck in my head to where I find myself singing them to myself as I go about my day. Very catchy, so many of them. ‘Livin’ A Lovin’ Lie’ is a soulful-country sound, sparse and haunting with touches of a gospel feeling as well. ‘This Is Me’ has a ‘Soul-twisting Bluesy twang’…as indicated in the lyrics of the song. It goes on to explain that Clay’s sound “ain’t pure country, it’s kinda rocky and a little funky”. I really love the lyrics of this one, and the musicianship is again, accomplished and professional. His guitar work is superb. Another definite “hit”. ‘You Lied’ is another crushing story of heartbreak, easily identified with by anyone who has been unlucky enough to trust the wrong person. Great production, lyric and musicianship. I would venture to say there are, at the very least, four solid hits on the album, and a possible seven. I kid you not. This young man has extraordinary talent in songwriting, playing and singing. A triple-dip of artistry that is so hard to find wrapped up in only one person. Highly unusual, and I highly recommend you get his CD as soon as it becomes available. You will definitely not regret it. ~ Abby Owen, Texas Blues Roadhouse
Copyright 2015 – Abby Owen
Image Copyright 2015 – Abby Owen
Image Copyright 2015 – http://www.katiereynoldsphotography.com and by permission – Clay Shelburn