Clay Blaker

Clay Blaker is perhaps best known as the writer of half a dozen songs recorded by George Strait, but with his Texas Honky-Tonk Band he is also a popular regional entertainer and has released four albums of his own material. Blaker was born in Houston and raised in nearby Almeda, TX, to a father who loved big bands and a mother who listened to country music. Thus, his musical influences range from Glenn Miller to Ernest Tubb, and in a home movie, a five-year-old Blaker can be seen decked out in a green cowboy suit and singing Hank Williams' "Hey Good Lookin'" on a Roy Rogers model guitar.

In 1970 Blaker, an avid surfer, moved to Maui, but by 1973 music was becoming more important to him, and he moved to southern California to be near some friends who were in bands. Blaker started his own band in 1974 and played all along the California coast until December 1976, when he took the Texas Honky-Tonk Band to Houston for a week's vacation. They became so popular in Houston that they stayed. Blaker began recording songs in Houston studios and released his first album, What a Way to Live, in 1981. Also in that year George Strait, an old friend of Blaker's, hit the charts. Blaker and his band opened for Strait on many of his first tour dates, and Strait recorded Blaker's "The Only Thing That I Have Left" (later re-recorded by Tim McGraw) for his 1982 Strait from the Heart album.

Strait, along with LeAnn Rimes, Clay Walker, and Mark Chesnutt, recorded many more of Blaker's songs through the years, while Blaker remained a relatively unknown local performer. In 1998 he released his fourth album, Rumor Town. Welcome to the Wasteland followed three years later. ~ Brian Wahlert

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