There are two kinds of people in the world: those who love Delbert McClinton and those who haven’t heard him yet. Delbert is always working on that second group.
Lyle Lovett has said, “If we could all sing like we wanted to, we’d all sing like Delbert.”
Rolling Stone calls Delbert “The Godfather of Americana Music.” No Depression calls him a “musician’s musician.” The Austin Chronicle calls him "Texas' greatest living embodiment of amorphous eclecticism,” and Billboard calls him “one of America’s richest artistic treasures.”
2018 is a milestone year for Delbert. His biography, Delbert McClinton: One of the Fortunate Few, written by Diana Finlay Hendricks, was released by Texas A&M University Press. He has been nominated for Texas State Musician, a highly-acclaimed state appointment akin to poet laureate. Delbert will be receiving the international Nobelity Project’s 2019 Feed the Peace Award, and will be honored with a star in the Paramount Theatre’s Walk of Stars on Congress Avenue in Austin, Texas. He will start the year, celebrating his 25th anniversary Sandy Beaches Cruise, the longest running and most successful of the music cruises in existence, and before the year ends, he plans to release his 20th studio album in 2019, celebrating his 62nd year on stage. This perennial road warrior shows no signs of slowing down, as he has played more than 75 shows in 2018, and dates are already filling the 2019 tour calendar
The multi-Grammy Award winning artist is at the top of his game with his 19th studio album, Prick Of The Litter (Hot Shot Records/Thirty Tigers). The new offering captures the balance of soulful energy and restraint that the legendary performer has been delivering in his live performances for decades all over the world. On Prick of the Litter, Delbert incorporates a variety of styles, and as always, just enough to keep him comfortably outside the traditional marketing categories.
Prick Of The Litter blends Delbert’s signature rhythm and blues sound with a newer jazz-influence inspired by Johnny Mercer, Nat King Cole and other legendary crooners. He includes some upbeat traditional blues (“Don’t Do It”) with a romantic take on Tony Bennett’s San Francisco (“San Miguel”) while “Skip Chaser” paints a vivid picture of the perils of the profession. A highlight is the album’s closer, the gentle and hopeful “Rosy.” McClinton's road band, Self-Made Men provide a hard-driving rhythm section, powerful guitars and innovative piano, accented by punched-up horns. Delbert’s definitive vocals and distinct harmonica licks bring it all together.
Delbert McClinton has been a leading Americana artist since before the genre was established. He has won three Grammy Awards: two awards in the blues category for Best Contemporary Blues Album; and one in the rock category (Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group), with Bonnie Raitt for "Good Man, Good Woman."
Delbert’s unique musical style grew from his Texas music beginnings. Influenced at a young age by Tejano, Western Swing, Rhythm and Blues and War songs, he developed a signature sound that served him well.Delbert grew up around Lubbock and Fort Worth, and spent his early career in the desegregating roadhouses of Fort Worth’s Jacksboro Highway, leading the house bands for Jimmy Reed, Muddy Waters, Bo Diddley, and others, while making a local name for himself. Later, Delbert traveled to England where he headlined shows with Bruce Channel (“Hey Baby”) with a little-known Liverpool band [The Beatles] as the opening act. He then rolled into Los Angeles as songwriters began to take top billing, and headed back to Texas for the progressive movement and blues renaissance that helped kick off Austin’s role in American musical history.
If you’ve seen a live Delbert McClinton show, you will recognize the synchronized energy on Prick Of The Litter that comes from thousands of miles of playing together. Delbert believes that his current road band, Self-Made Men, is the best band he’s ever had.
“Jack Bruno [drums] is amazing. He played with Joe Cocker and with Tina Turner for years. I’ve been harder on drummers than anybody in the world, but Jack is right there where I need him. Dana Robbins [saxophone] and Quentin ‘Q’ Ware [trumpet] punctuate the live performances in just the right places. James Pennebaker [guitar] is family. He’s been playing with me off and on since he was nineteen. Mike Joyce [bass guitar], Kevin McKendree [piano], and Bob Britt [guitar] are among my best friends, in addition to being in the band. Mike and Kevin and I write together a lot. We wrote most of the songs on that album together.”
His 19th studio album, Prick of the Litter was a signature project for Delbert McClinton, and he is proud of it. “We worked hard on this and we got exactly what we wanted,” he says. “The songs, the band, the production. Everything came together. We didn’t leave no chicken on the bone,” he says.
“I did what I came to do with this album. I guess I really am One of the Fortunate Few.”