Sound Check with Clay Melton — CityBook Houston

Like many a guitar aficionado, Houston-reared Clay Melton got hooked on rock courtesy of Jimi Hendrix. “I remember hearing the solo in ‘All Along the Watchtower’ and wanting to make that sound,” says Melton, now 23. He grew up listening to and studying Stevie Ray Vaughan, “jazz cats” like Wes Montgomery, and even a little John Mayer. (“He can write a good pop song.”)

Melton’s eponymous band released its debut record, the genre-hopping album Burn the Ships, last fall. He calls the band’s vibe “rock, rhythm and blues,” and says he and his crew — Zach Grindle on drums and Raymon Minton on bass and synths — relish not being “pigeon-holed into a sound.” The Clay Melton Band is planning a summer tour along the East Coast, for the second time in the last nine months. It might sound tiring, but as the laid-back Melton is known to say, “Ain’t no thing.”

Clay Melton
“Clay Melton Rolls With The Best” – Vents Magazine

Clay and his group, Clay Melton Band – featuring drummer Zach Grindle and bassist Raymon Minton – have developed a guitar driven pop-influenced alt-rock style that draws dynamically on his blistering Texas guitar influences.

“Clay Melton Band” is a fine recording with a big bag of influences that result in total originality. This isn’t just some fluke this guy can play the guitar with anyone. He’s a good front man and singer too, which doesn’t take long to figure out. I liked him from the second I heard the opening song, “Tonight.”It’s all up to the listener, but to influence the reader is the idea and it’s great when that can be done. Nothing is contrived about Clay Melton’s songwriting either, it is purely effortless. He seems to go above and beyond the garage, so to speak. They should be getting some rock radio airplay with this because they roll with the best. And the drums on this song roll on like a pile driving machine. But not everyone drinks the same cup of tea. The just motivate me. There are some moments of questionable freedom as they come on so strong, but it gets worked out as the songs go by, and doesn’t seem to matter by the time you realize there is something special about the band and the music here. “Home” is another excellent track with a slightly more pop driven sound. This is where you find out how-well Clay can sing. It’s a slice of heaven in all departments, but the vocals take the cake here, as they smoothen out after such a ferocity in the opening song. You can hear everything from the Beatles to Nirvana but it’s all Clay Melton Band in the end. There are also modern influences like Alfa Rev from Texas, but on the other hand maybe he doesn’t even know who that is. It just shows a vocally progressive side, like Muse.

“Remember” is a return to the form of the opener but with a hardness that bites a hole in you. This has a progressiveness of the opposite sort found in the previous song. They fly hard on this one but it’s somehow laid back. This is accomplished by their wholeness. I can’t remember being this musically attracted to someone so quickly in a while like this. It’s only at the half-way mark and it is obviously brilliant. This deals with some social-political factors but you don’t get too caught up in that. Clay almost resembles Leonardo DeCaprio on the cover of the EP, so naturally he’s going to turn some heads, and that’s another good thing for this and all the tracks. The guitar is all over the place and it’s just a highlyelectrified song.

If you can’t reckon with the quality of this record, I would be very surprised. They are doing something right, it’s precision in every aspect. The words are clear, the sound is world class produced, the talent equally matched and burned into the group. Who doesn’t love it when that happens. If only it happened every day. But I am sorry to say it doesn’t, but the youthful reality of this leaves the world wide open for the Clay Melton force. It is either that or I am flat off my rocker and just temporarily in shock and awe that doesn’t come along enough. I am that confident this band is going somewhere. If I can encourage one person to listen to this I have done it service, which it deserves more than most in its path. Even on “Stop And Listen” the vocals tend to resemble bands like Muse, but also Oasis and other Brit-pop style bands of the 90s. But the point isn’t to spot influence or he wouldn’t sound like those of decades past either. He could have it all and be the next big thing, or fall through the cracks. The latter would be a shame because this is another solid slab of hard-driving but lightheartedly mixed music. This is a pop ballad for the masses, as it takes the record over the threshold with some extremely passionate pipes. This EP is one hundred percent full of good material that ripples with patience and direction with a smart sound. If that isn’t enough the future will tell all as they see where this output gets them.

Hannah Allyce
“This Rocks With a Brilliance All Rock Musicians Should Be Doing” – GasHouse Radio

First of all, this artist and his band have a fire in them not often heard these days, as it harks back to the times where a lot of artists did. The approach is that aggressive. They border on alternative rock but have that classic appeal. They just go for it and that is all there is to it. The sound is big, gritty and clean at the same time, with pure moxie. The EP kicks off with “Tonight” which there is a video for, to show how they actually do go for it.

They simply attack their instruments. The percussion is unrelenting and so is the guitar and bass. These guys play like monsters and there is no denying that. This one track alone is worth every second of the way. I was on the bandwagon from there. It’s an amazing power trio that has an ability pretty much instantly turn you on. This is a four track EP as well, so you either bang it all out or you can lose something, and “Home” does not start off sounding as if that will happen until the beautiful motif intro is over with. Then you are hit with a wall of sound that knocks you off your feet. And the power gets turned right back on. This track also has some moments that remind of bands like Yes. The vocal harmonies are killer. This is a smoking hot piece of work, and it’s indicative of everything I’ve said so far. The young man is something else, and that is the consensus, thus far on this release. There is a lot to be said about this if you’re a rock lover that craves great musicianship with lots of energy and all of the correct chemistry and other elements that make a band flow, no matter who’s at the helm. That is a lot to take in, so it’s natural to bring the tempo down just a little, but not all the way as they get into the next track “Remember.” Because it does rock hard with a lot of intensity, it’s just more of a mid-tempo dominance. There are shouting parts to make up for anything concerning that. This is another great piece with vocals that soar high and low. You can’t turn it away, it’s all done very well, like a gang of musical soldiers with everything it takes behind them. This is just as enjoyable at the end of the disc, as the first two tracks prove to be. By now you want more than an EP from this band, as you are begging for more. But you get such a bang for the buck anyway. That is one thing for sure, and it’s recommended before the final track. In which “Stop And Listen” has everything going for it as the others. The testament is consistency and they’ve got it down at every turn. This is a softer track, there is no arguing that but it again still has some high energy parts. There is an angelic appeal to some of this, and an over the top factor like the rest of the tracks. It builds up to a frenzy as the vocals come on real strong in a quirky way that charismatically delivers, before some bluesy guitar whispers it away in the fade. It’s all very impressively crafted and performed in the studio it makes you want to see them live. It has everything going for it and just so hard to pick on that it’s a delight to review, but your opinion might easily vary. I can’t say that, I’d be second guessing my own opinion and that isn’t a position to be in to write about it. It’s that good from this perspective, no headphones needed to conclude, this rocks with a brilliance all rock musicians should be doing. In closing there is no denying an appreciation for such creative players as Jimi Hendrix, etc. And that’s really just a mark of good taste when it comes to roots.

They aren’t old style they just have that old soul that so many are missing in the millennial era. I can go on and on comparing him to the likes of all the greats but it is still too early to go that far about it. But they will go far if they keep this up at the rate they’re going. Music used to blow minds on a regular basis, and if everyone had the passion and fury of this guy that would still be the case. And there was never enough you could say about an artist and their music when that was the case, as well. Maybe he’s just a throwback and I’m compelled to just glow on about it, but I am hard pressed to find anything wrong with the Clay Melton Band.

Clay Melton