Clay Mitchell

YouTube Link: CLICK HERE

YouTube Link: CLICK HERE

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 the truth."
        --Jim Dickinson, prod/ pianist: Aretha Franklin, Replacements, Bob Dylan, Rolling Stones' Wild Horses
"I 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
"When 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
“I 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 off !"
      --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
Represented: 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.
Movies: 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.” 

--Dick Mitchell 5/27/95


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    


Ludlow St. Management
Lee Brown, Luanne Laine
(512) 653-3452
Austin, TX