At the half-way point of summer, artists are dropping new music as things keep heating up. Louisiana native and Texas-based artist, Clay Melton, is no exception as he blazes through with the release of Back to Blue. The 5-track EP is a melting pot of blues riff’s that exude the artist as the next pedigree of blues rock. Backed by renowned producer, Danny Jones, the singer-songwriter compiles four originals and a fiery cover for his latest project. Jones’ experience working with artists such as: Stevie Ray Vaughan, Etta James and Patti LaBelle inks what Melton offers. While contemporaries find spots on airplay with practicality, Melton delivers an “in your face” emotional charge to music.
The self-titled track testifies Jones’ body of work and Melton’s psychedelic ambience with ballad tone. The R&B influences are undertones behind the singer’s soulful Americana vibes. Its slow guitar breaks and begrudging vocals are screeching as an attention getter. This is only just the opener to boot. While it doesn’t reveal entirely of what to expect, nonetheless, it’s a raving way to show the singer’s identity through a slow jam emotive.
Intense feeling and rousing vocals are just the tip of the iceberg as Melton puts his guitar to work. “Say That You Love Me” and “Texas Cyclone” are standouts with its heavily charged instrumentals. The fact these tracks are live make the experience hair-raising as they blur the EP’s studio recordings. The singer’s raspy voice and guitar licks are on the levels of prodigious in the wake of southern music. Its reminiscence of distortion echo to a Vaughan or Jimi Hendrix style of guitarwork. These comparisons are fueled by the latter track’s fast-paced jamming of a song with zero vocals. As Melton shows off the power of his backing group, he lays it out while his guitar gently shreds the live performance.
Fuzzy and chaotic guitar playing is paramount for a lot of southern-based artists. Whether it’s a heavy reverb or laced-out feedback, blues rock was always synonymous with the sound. No other band could enact that sound for endless hours other then ZZ Top. Melton’s admiration for the group is tributed to his cover of “Jesus Left Chicago”. Slow bass groove with a side of showmanship in Melton’s guitar work edify how much emotion the singer can display. Its harking, raspy vocals does the track justice to the artist’s influences in a paving closer.
The impassioned, fiery project displays Melton’s craftwork to a heartfelt genre. While the EP can fall into the familiar tropes of blues music, the singer’s performances are an honest stunner of raw production. Its undertaking of a heavy, infectious sound is a standout among the southern pop trends. With a concert tour in the works, fans and listeners can expect to hear more from the artist’s blistering licks and radical vocals. For now, we can get a taste of the anticipation as the EP drops July 23rd.
Written by Trenton Luber