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As native of Florida, Clay formed a band called the "Bottom Dollar Band", who performed more of a southern rock style of country music. I reviewed their CD some years ago and to this day folks visiting the MKOC Stars on the Horizon browse to that review and write asking how to get them to perform, or sending them messages saying how much they enjoyed their music... well, the Bottom Dollar Band dis"Banded" a few years back when Clay decided it was time for him to go to Nashville and really work on his career. Since then, he's come a long way and is "runnin' with the big dogs"!

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Clay wrote all of the songs on his self titled CD, "Clay Rigdon"... and believe me, it's solid, hardcore, traditional country and Honky Tonk music all the way. There are eight songs on the album but they are all top of the line, quality songs, so much so that you don't think about it "only" having eight songs... then suddenly, it hits you, you want MORE of Clay Rigdon. I  don't feel cheated in the least by not having those 2 extra songs, I just play the same eight over and over again and I'm enjoy it more each time I hear it. I'm satisfied because there's a great mixture of songs... "A lid to fit every pot" as my Ma always said... and all of them sung perfectly. The up tunes make you wanna dance.. and if ya don't dance, you won't be holdin' still because the music will make you move in one way or another... you just can't help it.

"Hello Old Friend" could have been among the other great music from "Oh Brother, Where Art Thou", then you go into "I Didn't" and if you didn't know better, you'd be asking, who wrote that?... "Isn't that an old song? I can't remember who sang it".... That's how "traditionally country" it is; as if Clay stepped back in time and was one of those great songwriters of days gone by. From there, you go to the other end of he gamut to track 6, "You Go, Girl" and you've got a rockin', Honky Tonkin' southern rock song, which also has a play on words that's bound to bring out some chuckles. From one end of the spectrum and back again, there's nothing but GREAT country music on this album... my favorites, as always are the ballads, " "I Didn't" and "What I Won't Do" are works worthy of George Strait or Alan Jackson. All in all, "Clay Rigdon" is a true "keeper" for your music collection and one that you'll play often.

Clay wore many hats in the creation of this CD. He was the Producer and Engineer. It was mixed by Clay and Chuck Davis. Aside from vocals, Clay played keyboard, drums and acoustic guitar. Is he good at all of these jobs? Apparently so because this production is equivalent to anything produced on Music Row and Clay's voice is top of the line, 100% solid country.... and addictive. I also want to give credit to all the great musicians that Clay chose to work on this album with him.; Charles Lilly, Bass; Jason Roller, Guitars, Fiddle and Mandolin; Randy Hess, Pedal Steele Guitar; Buddy Leech, Saxophone (Stand by Love) and Ms.Aaron Marshall, Background vocals (Stand By Love). These artists complimented each song to the fullest. Keeping the rest of it in the family, Clay's wife, Debbi did all the photography and album design, as well as his website design. So much talent between one couple means you're getting one fabulous album.

I have only one regret regarding Clay and his music and that is that I had a chance to see him perform live and due to the fact that I was in Nashville to attend a Child Alert Foundation benefit, that chance passed me by. Actually, Clay was at the benefit most of the day to donate his time and talent to raise money for CAF, waiting for his chance to get on stage to perform, but the scheduling had been grueling and I'm not sure what went wrong, but time ran out and Clay was scheduled to be at a gig he was performing with Don Ellis (half of the famous "Ellis Brothers" country duo who now perform as singles). I was invited to go, but couldn't as I was obligated to remain at the benefit. As deeply involved as I am in CAF, it was indeed disappointing. I wanted to see Clay perform and I'm a long time fan of Don Ellis so it was a double whammy for me. Don and Clay work together quite often and I can tell you first hand, this is a very high tribute to Clay's talent. Others that have worked with Clay and encouraged his work are "Whisperin'" Bill Anderson, and singer songwriter, Billy Montana. I could go on, but this isn't about who Clay knows, it's about his talent and his CD, "Clay Rigdon"... So all I have left to say to Clay is, "When's the next album coming out?!"

 

Hello Old Friend

I Didn't

I'm Wide Awake

A Different Way

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Livin' 98 Proof

You Go, Girl

What I Won't Do

Stand By Love

2003 Clay Rigdon    All Rights Reserved

Info on the Musicians and techs:
At the time of recording, Chuck Davis was a sound engineer at the Grand Ole Opry.
Charles Lilly used to play bass for Joe Diffie, as did Jason Roller. Charles is now with Opry Legend Billy Walker, Jason is with Tracey Lawrence, and Buddy Leech is with George Thoroughgood and the Destroyers.

I'd like to add some personal comments about Clay and his wife, Debbi and this isn't about the music, it's about them as humanitarians and their caring and giving of themselves to help others. The show in Nashville wasn't the only time they donated time or merchandise to CAF. While Clay was with the Bottom Dollar Band there was a benefit being held by my dear friends, Shay and Skip Gosnell in NC. Clay was in FL and unable to come to perform, so Debbi made a HUGE basket of goodies, filled with tons of Bottom Dollar Band merchandise and had it all wrapped up like a gigantic Easter basket. It was absolutely lovely and extremely generous and brought in quite a good bidding price in the auction. Lastly, one of the things that was so wonderful about having Clay's CD is that when he, Debbi and I were together, poor Clay didn't get a word in edgewise! Debbi and I had been friends for years through email, but this was the first time we could actually sit down and talk to each other and since we're both into PCs, web sites and designs, it was non-stop geek talk. Clay and Debbi came to take us (my Ma, my aunt and me) out to dinner. Clay quietly looked after my Ma and my Aunt Louise keeping them company so the truth is, I not only didn't get to hear him sing, I barely got to hear him talk.. LOL... Man! It's a good thing you're such a great singer, Clay... this may be the only way to shut up the women and be heard! ;) Thanks to you both for all you've done... you're true friends that I know I can always count on. And to all of you reading this, Clay didn't get a rave review because I like him as a person, he got it because he deserves that and more... I'm just not as eloquent as most reviewers so I use more words. ;)

Marlene Slater (Marli)
10-2-04

Visit the Clay Rigdon web site for more information and to buy his CD!

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