|Clay plays solo set between bands at Antone's in Austin. Photo by Felcia S. Molandes
"Clay Mitchell is
a killer songwriter--a killer solo act. I produced and performed with Clay in Memphis. He cares deeply. He digs until he uncovers
--Jim Dickinson, prod/ pianist: Aretha Franklin, Replacements, Bob Dylan, Rolling Stones' Wild Horses
admire Clay Mitchell personally and musically. His songs are excellent. His lyrics strong with economy and emotion.
His stage presence terrific. I recommend Clay for his talents and character.”
--Van Dyke Parks, prod/ arr/ lyricist: The Byrds, U2, Little Feat, Beach Boys' Smile
“God used Clay to get my music and my life back on track. He worked with me on the music to
Spielberg's movie, The Color Purple. I asked him to come sing in my church. We've been close for years.” --Andrae Crouch, 9 Grammy winner, Color Purple & Lion KIng scores, Arrangements: Michael
Jackson's Man in the Mirror, Madonna's Like a Prayer
"Holy cow! Clay's songs are amazing. I love them. We now have the soundtrack for the revolution."
--Zach Exley, Bernie
Sanders Senior Advisor, Digital Team
we walked into Lubbock, [after Clay finished his 40 minute warm up set for an audience of 1600] it was so loud, people were
so excited, that literally I almost had to cover my ears. It was so cool."
-- Cynthia Cano, Beto Campaign Director
"Thanks for doing this. I appreciate it. Your music is just awesome!"
--Beto O'Rourke, 2018
BIG TIME SOLO PERFORMANCE, VIBRANT TO THE MAX, SHOOK UP THE HOUSE!” --Two River Times, NJ
want to say how much I like Clay's album, Open Cage. He sings great. The songs are great. The guitar playing and the sound…Hats
--Steve Ripley, prod/
guitarist: Leon Russell, The Tractors, Bob Dylan’s Shot of Love
"I hear a river running through
Mitchell's music... Bob Dylan was taken with two of Clay's songs. I believed Clay would tour with Bob."
--Cindy Osbourne, Bob Dylan's Management
Blind Willie Johnson ... Mitchell performed for Willie's Church's 100th
Anniversary: (2014, Marlin, Texas) Johnson's song, "Dark Was the Night", is on the gold record on the Voyager spacecraft.
The Color Purple, Blue Thunder ... Mitchell made significant behind the scenes contributions
to work nominated for two Academy Awards.
Muddy Waters' Big Smile
"I steal from the past, but I do not want to re-create it: Led Zeppelin
and the Stones were not purists. Delta blues,
Irish folk melodies and the Beatles. Underneath it all is the pure joy of the Blues. I do
not see the Blues as wallowing in personal pain. The Blues is about staring down the pain--dancing with the
pain--defiant joy. I saw Muddy Waters
in New York, with his big smile, singing, ‘I’m a man! That spells M…A…N.’...Tore me up."
Solo Act in Rock Clubs
"Those early Blues guys got up at the juke joint with nothing more than an acoustic guitar, sang
from their hearts, and people danced! That’s the tradition I carry on with my slide guitar. I headlined alone on stage
at the Whisky a Go-Go in Hollywood, following three bands. I played alone between R&B bands at the Village Underground
in New York... between bands at Antone's in Austin... at campaign rallies... and people dance--to nothing more than me and
my acoustic guitar."
Clay is presently showcasing
new songs every Monday night at BD Rileys on 6th Street in Austin... 8:00pm
Elvis & Dad... Lubbock 1955
Mitchell's Dad Nearly Mucks
Up Rock'n'Roll History
“In 1955, I was the Pontiac District Manager for West Texas. Johnson-Connelly Pontiac was celebrating its Grand
Opening in Lubbock. I was authorized to pay $75 for the entertainment. It was my responsibility to see that the money was
used for the right kind of entertainment. I was to send a report back to my Zone Office. I arrived in Lubbock the day before
the celebration. Bob Johnson was eager for me to interview some band leader waiting outside his office. I can’t remember
if there were two or three men. I do recall, I did not approve of the type of music they were going to play. I wanted swing
music--like Glen Miller. I never liked Johnson, but he was our new dealer, so I reluctantly went along.
The second day of the Grand Opening
was rainy. We moved the band into the show room. The music was way
too loud. Quinn Connelly agreed, but was not adamant. I called
the band leader into the office for a talk. I was not happy. I wanted to shut down the whole thing. But I finally decided, if Johnson
and Connelly were satisfied, and the customers could take it, so could I. The band leader’s name came up several times,
but the name didn’t mean anything to me. Six months later, Quinn Connelly called me up, ‘Guess what? Our noisy
band leader has made it big!’…His name? Elvis Presley.
I’m glad my career depended on car sales, not on my
judgment of musical talent. My son, Clay, tells me what a tremendous influence Elvis had on America and I suppose the
world. But he still hasn’t influenced me. My favorite music is still Lawrence Welk. I didn’t appreciate the Beatles
and overreacted to long hair. So I guess I’m consistent.”
Effect on Buddy Holly:
(the same weekend)
Early in 1955, KDAV booked Elvis into the Cotton Club in Lubbock for $35--out of which he had to
pay his sidemen, Scotty Moore and Bill Black. Hipockets Duncan remembers it like this: “Buddy Holly (a high school senior)
was there that night. He went over to talk with Elvis. Later Buddy said to me, ‘You know, he’s a real nice, friendly
fellow’--I guess Buddy was surprised that Elvis was so normal and would talk to him so easily. Buddy thought of Elvis
as a big star. Elvis was enough of a star to be paid to play the grand
opening of the local Pontiac dealership the next day. Buddy
and his trio played there, too. When the next KDAV Sunday Party rolled around, Buddy was singing Elvis’s songs.”
--from John Goldrosen’s The Buddy Holly Story