Activities: Clay Melton & Friends, Dosey Doe – The Big Barn, January 6, 2022


Clay Melton enjoys a good live album. When asked about a favorite, the Texas guitarist in Louisiana names a couple that feels formative.

“Last year I started listening to WWOZ over in New Orleans, the radio station. I got your app, I could listen to it at home. It just got me down a rabbit hole, hearing a lot of my Cajun heritage and New Orleans music, New Orleans funk, and I’ve always been a huge Meters fan, ”said Melton. “To answer your question, The Neville Brothers Live with Tipitina is a fantastic achievement. They’re doing a version of ‘Fever’, I think that’s how they open the show, and that’s exactly my thing. There’s something Stevie – Live at El Mocambo is a fascinating achievement by Stevie Ray. ”

Melton is sure to channel personal music heroes like Stevie Ray Vaughan and the Nevilles as he tries to record his own live album January 6th at Dosey Doe – The big barn. He and his blues-rock trio will record and film the event with a list of special guests and a live audience of fans and friends.

“We have played with Dosey Doe a lot in the past. Steve Said over there is one of the first guys who gave me the chance to play on a serious stage as a kid. I just always loved it there and the acoustics are great. We wanted to do a show, but we also wanted to record this live album so we decided to go there, ”Melton said. “I have a lot of friends, musicians all over town, with whom I’ve wanted to do something for a long time. Everything was starting to align, so I thought we’d do this as a collaboration show. “

One of Melton’s oldest friends, Kyle Garrett, will open the show with a country music set. He’ll give way to Melton for a 90-minute set, a mix of brand new original songs that have never been recorded before, some older tunes, some standards, and songs from the evening’s special guest, the saxophonist Evelyn Rubio, Blues belt Sarah Grace and Sir Ear Toon of the fame of Kool & The Gang.

“I think we’re going to be doing mostly new songs in the beginning and hopefully getting some cuts with the guest artists with Evelyn Rubio and Sarah Grace and Sir Earl Toon. Hopefully I can get a few cuts to get on the album with them. ”

Malcolm Harper, a Grammy-winning sound engineer who Melton previously worked with, will be developing the audio and video that evening.

“He’s great to work with and he’s just a professional,” said Melton. “Our plan is to bring it out and support it in April 2022. We hope to travel to Italy and the EU and do a little promotion tour there right at the start of the release. ”

Not only is he interested in a compelling end product, but he hopes to put the audience on a rousing show.

“We play a few tunes with each artist and at the end of the night they all come. Sometimes guest artists come on stage and there’s that awkward plug-in moment and then they play their songs and it’s over and they get out and you’re kind of back where you started, ”he remarked. “I wanted the night to grow so that everyone who comes would stay on stage to play with the next artist who comes with us.”

Melton said the plan is to record two songs with each special guest, one Melton song and one from each guest artist. Houstonians who follow the music even a little know Sarah Grace, a Houston native and Billboard chart multi-instrumentalist and singer who the jury calls a “pint-size powerhouse” The voice when she appeared on the show. You probably also know Rubio, a band leader and Houston native from Mexico City whose saxophone and singing skills are always in demand in the city. You’re from this area so we asked Melton how he got together with Sir Earl Toon.

“He’s an honor to work with and he’s a really down to earth guy, he’s super lovely. I’m just grateful to be working with him,” said Melton. “We ended up meeting him through someone who has been very helpful and helping us put together and promote this event, John McNerney of John in Houston PR. He lives here, he’s a great guy. He’s working with Sir Earl, inviting him to come down, and Sir Earl said, ‘We’re coming down there. I like to get up and play a song or two. ‘ Of course you say yes! I was looking for a third guest and that developed so we’re really excited. ”

As for Melton’s band, there has been a change recently. Zach Grindle is a fixture on drums, but there is a new bassist in the trio. Melton said ex-bassist Raymon Minton was fronting a new band, The Poserz, (“They’re great, they’re really heavy,” he added) so Zach Cox, a veteran local guitarist, steps in Projects like HIGHDIVE, bitter taste and scavengers.

“He was a killer. He came to us this summer so this will be his first album with us, ”said Melton.

This refreshed line-up and new music is exciting considering Melton has been on the way lately. His 2017 album Burn the ships was a groovy sojourn through R&B and blues-pop territories. A five-part EP released in July 2021, Back to blue, was kind of a return to no-nonsense blues rock and allowed Melton to get downright dirty on some tracks. The EP is crammed with slow burners, but the meat of it – the album’s three middle tracks – are uptempo rippers showing off Melton’s wild guitar skills. Both albums show his versatility as an artist.

click to enlarge Melton's Friends are an integral part of the live recording, behind the scenes, on stage, and in the audience - PHOTOGRAPH BY TRISH BADGER, Courtesy of CLAY MELTON

Melton’s friends are an integral part of the live recording, behind the scenes, on stage and in the audience

Photo by Trish Badger, courtesy Clay Melton

“They’re very different vibes,” Melton said of his last two releases. “The last EP was just patched up because of the pandemic and in a way, sitting here today, I’m glad I had the time to redirect back then. It is kind of a silver lining to be stuck at home for months. From the start I really wanted to do something that was in the wheelhouse. I’ve done more pop-produced, clean Strat stuff in the past few years and I really just wanted to get back to what I’m writing, if I just pick up the guitar at home and just have a good feeling about the time. It’s always been bluesy, rocky stuff. That’s where I come from as a listener and as a player. ”

Born in Lake Charles, Melton moved between Louisiana and Texas as a child, but has been here permanently since he was eight. He started playing guitar just a few years later at the age of eleven and has been playing live since he was 13. He has now spent more than half his life playing live shows, so it’s no wonder he wants to record one for his growing discography.

“There’s no better way to get that live effect and feel than just putting it in that context and having an audience there,” he said. “When you can feel the energy in the room during a live recording, you hear the reactions of the crowd, you sometimes feel like you’re in the audience.”

He’s hoping for a good audience, not just for the audio recording, but also for the video companion filmed by Wizard Rainbows Brandon Bond, the group’s longtime videographer. The whole evening will also be kicked off by Big Stick Spirits, the Katy area liquor company that recently threw sponsorship backing behind Melton.

Although he plans to record the album as a single take, he said friendly faces as well as familiar surroundings would help calm the nerves. He said Dosey Doe was the location of his first show ever and the setting for one of his most ambitious projects.

“I have great faith in the band, we have developed well,” he said. “Now that we’ve jammed the material, I feel good about it. There’s definitely this thought, ‘Oh, it’s a take,’ but from the audience I know it’s a Thursday show. Between the guest artists and the opening act, who is my best friend, the audience will be a lot of friends and family. I like it. I think it will feel really nice. ”

Clay Melton & Friends is recording live on January 6, 2022 at Dosey Doe – The Big Barn, 25911 I-45, The Woodlands. Entry at 6:30 p.m. $ 10- $ 40.


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