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Clay Blaker: just another fine Texas country boy

By Joel Bernstein, January 2001

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Blaker says, "I've been writing songs since I was a teenager. I just grew up with music. I went out to see people like Ernest Tubb, Bob Wills and Floyd Tillman when I was real young. My parents weren't musicians, but they were into music. They liked to get out and hear bands."

As a teenager, Blaker was into The Beatles and surf music, which he feels is showing more in his new albums.

"I started letting these (rock) influences come out. It's not really a conscious thing. It wants to come out. I let it."

Blaker has also gotten into production. He does mostly regional Texas artists, with his highest profile production probably being Ed Burleson's honky-tonk gem, "My Perfect World."

"The guy who played pedal steel guitar with me for 11 or 12 years decided he wanted to build a little home studio so we could do my song demos in Texas instead of having to go to Nashville. We found we could get a really cool sound. We thought we could do albums if we upgraded."

The last Doug Sahm album was also done at this studio.

Meanwhile, Blaker says "Burleson called me a few weeks ago. He's got a bunch of new songs and wants me to produce another album."

Blaker actually got into production when he met Jennifer Weatherly at a festival in Europe. She's an American who lives over there and has a sizable following.

"She approached me after a gig in Switzerland. She said my music was the sound she wanted, and she wanted me to produce an album. I said 'I only produce myself,' but then I thought about it more and decided to do it. She was the first artist I produced other than myself."

Lisa Morales is another artist Blaker met at a festival. "I met her in Europe in 1979 and talked her into moving to Texas (from Tucson)." Lisa and her sister Roberta relocated to Houston where Sisters Morales remains a highly popular act. Blaker's new album includes a duet with Lisa on the old Bobby Bare-Rosanne Cash hit "No Memories Hangin' Round." "We used to do that live in the early '80's. I thought of it for this album and called her up."

While Blaker has watched old friends like George Strait make it big, as well as people like Mark Chesnutt and Tracy Byrd who used to come see his band when they were in high school, he says, "(Stardom) was never really a goal of mine. I just wanted to have a good band. It feels so good to be on stage hearing that music come out behind you. I want to write good songs. I never really thought of being famous. I wanted a career in music. To me, this has been great."

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