After more than six decades on the road
Delbert announces retirement
Delbert McClinton has had plenty of time to reflect on his 63-year music career during this pandemic. For the first time in six decades, he has been off the road and off stage for more than a year. He has made an important decision, with an announcement to his band members, crew, and organization this week.
“Here I sit, 80 years old, in the middle of a pandemic. This is not how I envisioned playing out my final years as an entertainer. Music has been my total being for my whole life,” he admits. “I had been considering finishing this year with a modest number of shows. But the more I thought about it, and the more obstacles that have been placed in front of me, the less my heart was in it.”
“I don't want to get up in front of audiences who might be the cause of my incapacity or death just because I want to play music. I don't want to listen to anyone who won't wear a mask or get a vaccine. We all have different values and they are inarguable.”
He continues, “I have had a rewarding career, and I have accomplished more than I ever dreamed I would. With that in mind, this is a good time to retire.”
Delbert adds that this is a good time to close out his career, with a Grammy win (2020 Best Traditional Blues), a great album (Tall, Dark & Handsome: Hot Shot Records/Thirty Tigers), the Americana Lifetime Achievement Award, and the best band and crew with whom he has ever had the pleasure of sharing a stage (Self-Made Men + Dana).
“I’m leaving the stage with no regrets. I’ve done all that I set out to do and more. Retirement will allow me to enjoy my family and travel a bit as it becomes safer. It's been a great ride,” he adds, as he looks forward to the next chapter. (5/1/21)
Note: Delbert will perform on the 27th Delbert McClinton Sandy Beaches Cruise in January of 2023.
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Tall, Dark, & Handsome
Best Traditional Blues
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"Roots music visionary" (Rolling Stone) Delbert McClinton returns with a swaggering and swingin’ new album, Tall, Dark & Handsome, via Hot Shot Records/Thirty Tigers. Featuring 14 new, original new songs - all written or co-written by Delbert the album dives deep into the blues, Americana and beyond, bursting with horns, fiddle, accordion, blazing guitar work, back-up singers and McClinton’s charismatic rasp, proving Lyle Lovett’s claim that “if we could all sing like we want to, we’d all sound like Delbert McClinton.”
Tall, Dark & Handsome features Delbert’s band the Self-Made Men + Dana: Dana Robbins (saxophone), Jack Bruno (drums), Mike Joyce (bass), Bob Britt (guitar), James Pennebaker (guitar), Kevin McKendree (keyboards), Quentin Ware (trumpet), Dennis Wage (keyboards).
It’s evident from the first downbeat that McClinton and company had a blast making the record, shining a raucous light on the swinging, jazzy virtues of Texas blues. Opener “Mr. Smith” is a joyous shuffle. “If I Hock My Guitar” is sly and self-deprecating, the story of a down n’ out axe-man who weighs his craft with a visit to the pawn shop.
The album hurtles forward with a red hot energy, with only a couple cool breaths along the way, like on “Any Other Way,” a ballad that starts with “Just another lovely day / a low-flying angel got in my way.”
McClinton has four GRAMMY Awards, which have all reached # 1 or #2 on Billboard’s Blues chart. With over 60 years of recording and touring to his credit, McClinton is a true musical zelig: he toured with the Beatles, backed Bo Diddley and Howlin’ Wolf, helped to inspire The Blues Brothers, and performed everywhere from SNL to Austin City Limits (both multiple times) along the way. His songs have been covered by Buddy Guy, Bonnie Raitt, Garth Brooks, Vince Gill, Waylon Jennings, and Wynonna Judd - to name a few.
This “Godfather of Americana” (Rolling Stone) looks forward to being back out on the road on the other side of COVID!