Clay Walker (album)

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Clay Walker
Clay Walker - Clay Walker.jpg
Studio album by Clay Walker
Released August 3, 1993
Recorded 1993; Nashville TN, Loud Recording, 50 Music Square West, 16th Avenue Sound
Genre Country
Length 36:15
Label Giant
Producer James Stroud
Clay Walker chronology
Clay Walker
(1993)
If I Could Make a Living
(1994)
Singles from Clay Walker
  1. "What's It to You"
    Released: July 15, 1993
  2. "Live Until I Die"
    Released: October 21, 1993
  3. "Where Do I Fit in the Picture"
    Released: February 1994
  4. "Dreaming with My Eyes Open"
    Released: June 13, 1994

Clay Walker is the self-titled debut album of American country music singer Clay Walker. It was released in 1993 on Giant Records and produced by James Stroud. The album produced four singles on the Billboard country music charts, of which three — "What's It to You", "Live Until I Die" and "Dreaming with My Eyes Open" — reached Number One. Respectively, these were the first, second, and fourth singles from the album. The third single, "Where Do I Fit in the Picture", peaked at #11. Additionally, "White Palace" peaked at #67 based on unsolicited airplay.

Background[edit]

After hearing about Walker, James Stroud flew down to Beaumont, Texas to meet him and see his show. After being "completely impressed", Stroud brought Walker to Nashville to record demos and then signed him to Giant and they began work on the debut album. Stroud revealed, "Clay is very consistent, and that's pretty rare in such a young act. He's one of those artists who, when he sings and you hear him going down on tape, you just know. I knew it with Clint [Black], and I could hear it with Clay."[1] Walker explained the meeting in SUCCESS by saying, "I finished the last song, chased Stroud to his limousine and asked him if everything was OK. He said yes and that he would see me in a couple of weeks to start recording an album."[2]

In an interview with the Los Angeles Times Walker said, "It was frustrating that I wasn't getting a contract, but I never doubted I'd eventually get one from somebody. That's because my father taught me something else too--to have incredible confidence in myself."[3] Walker told Country Song Roundup, "The songs that I write are normally either a true life experience, or they're things that I've witnessed from other people, friends or family. When you write, you become vulnerable. If you're gonna be true to yourself and write what you really feel, that's what you have to do, you have to put down on paper exactly what you're feeling.... I make myself very vulnerable because I open up my thoughts and they could be criticized, which can be painful, or they can be accepted.[4]

Walker was one of several musicians including Tracy Byrd and Mark Chesnutt who came from Beaumont, Texas when his debut album was released. He told The Spokesman-Review, "Beaumont is a goldmine for talent, I'll guarantee you every label in Nashville could go down there for a couple of months and find at least four or five entertainers." Walker also stated, "I'm a lot more influenced by Haggard than anyone else. I like those powerful ballads and two-steppin music. I love swing too, but it's probably that competition thing again."[5] Walker told The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in addition to Merle Haggard, "My influences were Hank Williams Sr., George Jones, and Charley Pride - the kind of country my dad liked, the kind I grew up on. I'm convinced traditional country music will come back more and more. After all it's the real thing. It's honest, and it's not just a sound, it's a way of life."[6]

Content[edit]

"What's It to You" was previously recorded by Curtis Wright, its co-writer, on his 1992 self-titled debut. "Dreaming with My Eyes Open" was also featured in the soundtrack to the 1993 film The Thing Called Love.[7] The final track, "I Don't Know How Love Starts", was co-written by Pirates of the Mississippi member Rich Alves.

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Dreaming with My Eyes Open" Tony Arata 3:30
2. "What's It to You" Robert Ellis Orrall, Curtis Wright 2:46
3. "The Silence Speaks for Itself" Chris Waters, Clay Walker, Tom Shapiro 4:20
4. "How to Make a Man Lonesome" Kim Williams, Randy Boudreaux 2:44
5. "Next Step in Love" Walker 3:19
6. "White Palace" Zack Turner, Byron Hill 2:45
7. "Money Can't Buy (The Love We Had)" Walker 3:02
8. "Things I Should Have Said" John Paul Daniel, Shawna Harrington-Burkhart 3:30
9. "Where Do I Fit in the Picture" Walker 3:57
10. "Live Until I Die" Walker 2:50
11. "I Don't Know How Love Starts" Rich Alves, T. J. Knight, Wright 3:32

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[8]
Cincinnati Post 3.5/5 stars[9]
Irish Times (favorable)[10]
Lewiston Morning Tribune (favorable)[11]
Observer-Reporter 2.5/5 stars[12]
Post and Courier 3/5 stars[13]
Washington Post (favorable)[14]

Geoffrey Hines of The Washington Post wrote, "The impressive debut album by Clint Black mastermind James Stroud, reveals a young man still casting about for his own style but nonetheless bringing a handsome, personal tenor and a sure rhythmic instinct to every song he tries. Offering a more promising for this youngster are the five songs he co-wrote himself; they boast the sort of lyric detail and musical build that bring out the best in his voice."[14] Mary Jo DiLonardo of The Cincinnati Post gave the album three and a half stars out of five and wrote, "Already risking comparisons to Garth Brooks and Clint Black, Walker has a strong voice, rugged cowboy looks (a "must" for videos) and a good crop of songs."[9] Joe Breen of The Irish Times said, "Best newcomer award goes to Clay Walker whose eponymous album sounds like it's worth checking out. Better value will be hard to find this year."[10]

Dave Molter of the Observer-Reporter gave the album two and a half stars and wrote, "Walker's voice is clear, if not distinctive and he has the kind of chiseled good looks that might me him rise above the heard."[12] Mia Carlson of the Lewiston Morning Tribune gave the album a favorable review and wrote, "It sounds like Giant records has put a lot of faith in this young Texan. Definitely worth a few more listens." Carlson also praised Walker's song writing as well as James Stroud's production.[11] Jon Rawl of the Post and Courier gave the album three stars and wrote, "This album proves he may be a Walker, but he hits the ground running." Rawl also wrote, "Clay Walker sounds like a seasoned professional on this debut album."[13]

Personnel[edit]

Charts and certifications[edit]

The album peaked at No. 8 on Top Country Albums on 1/29/94 and at No. 52 on The Billboard 200 on 1/22/94.[15]

Preceded by
In Pieces
by Garth Brooks
RPM Country Albums number-one album
January 24 - February 6, 1994
Succeeded by
Common Thread: The Songs of the Eagles
by Various Artists

References[edit]

  1. ^ Cronin, Peter Billboard Feats of clay: Walker sprints up the charts. (recording artist Clay Walker) (9 October 1993).
  2. ^ Reagan, Karyn. "Your Personal Best--Clay Walker". SUCCESS. Retrieved 2011-08-03. 
  3. ^ Hunt, Dennis (30 January 1994). "Clay Walker: After the Victory at That Talent Show, He Had to Keep Going". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 3 August 2011. 
  4. ^ Fusco-Giacobbe, Jennifer. "Contemporary Musicians: Clay Walker Biography". Country Song Roundup. Retrieved 3 August 2011. 
  5. ^ Adair, Don. The Spokesman-Review Homeward Bound Opens for Clay Walker at Playfair (July 14, 1995)
  6. ^ Sharpe, Jerry The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Walker's Stride (March 31, 1995)
  7. ^ Clay Walker (CD liner notes). Clay Walker. Giant Records. 1993. 24511-2. 
  8. ^ Powell, Larry. "Clay Walker - Clay Walker". AllMusic. Retrieved 2011-08-03. 
  9. ^ a b DiLonardo Mary Jo The Cincinnati Post Walker sparkles on debut disc (16 October 1993)
  10. ^ a b Breen, Joe The Irish Times DISC DRIVE/COUNTRY (July 29, 1994)
  11. ^ a b Carlson, Mia. Lewiston Morning Tribune Clay Walker's first try is just fine by me (October 1, 1993)
  12. ^ a b Molter, Dave. Observer-Reporter Clay Walker - Clay Walker (August 23, 1993)
  13. ^ a b Rawl, John. Post and Courier Beaumont Boy Hits Ground Running On Debut (October 7 1993)
  14. ^ a b Smooth Texas Swing of Strait, Walker. (1994, March 4). The Washington Post (1974-Current file),19. Retrieved May 16, 2011, from ProQuest Historical Newspapers The Washington Post (1877 - 1994). (Document ID: 2006397242).
  15. ^ Borzillo, Carrie. "Rocketing of the chart." Billboard 106.29 (1994): 20. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 18 May 2011.
  16. ^ Billboard This Year in Music (December 25, 1993)
  17. ^ Billboard This Year in Music 1994 (December 24, 1994)
  18. ^ "Gold & Platinum - August 31, 1994". RIAA. Retrieved 2011-07-07.