Clay Blaker was born June 27, 1950, in Houston, Texas, and grew up in the small town and farming community of Almeda, about 20 miles south of Houston. When Clay was five years old, his parents gave him a Silvertone Roy Rogers model acoustic guitar for Christmas and his mother, Rose, signed him up for guitar lessons from local music star Buster Phillips. Before long, Clay was accompanying himself on guitar singing some popular country songs of the time and thus the seeds were planted that blossomed a few years later into a lifetime career in the music business.
Clay’s father, Mack, who early on was a rice farmer and later an auto mechanic, opened Blaker’s Water Sports, a scuba diving and surfing shop, in Almeda, which was about a 45-minute drive from the Gulf Coast in 1962. Mack, a champion spearfisherman, also was one of the pioneers of surfing in Texas in the early ‘60’s. Clay also took up surfing shortly thereafter and together with his dad and some others, started manufacturing Blaker Custom Surfboards out of the back of the shop. The surfing boom soon exploded and a yearly circuit of surfing contests was started up and down the Gulf Coast, culminating in the Texas State Surfing Championships, usually held in Galveston. Notably Clay placed 1st in the 3A Men’s Division and 1st in the Paddleboard Race in that tournament in 1968 .
In 1970, Clay’s parents decided to sell everything they owned in Texas and moved the whole family to Hawaii so they could live on a tropical island and surf bigger and better waves. It seems like another seed must have been planted in Clay’s mind at that time.
Clay’s immediate family all still live in Hawaii, on the island of Maui. Three years after moving there, however, Clay headed for southern California with a dream to have a career in music. Shortly after arriving, a mutual friend introduced him to Allene Mershon, who had recently moved to California from Houston. They fell in love and moved in together, and almost immediately started a band with some other musicians living in the area. Clay was the lead singer and rhythm guitarist and Allene played bass guitar. After a couple of name changes, in early ’75 they finally settled on calling themselves Clay Blaker and the Texas Honky-Tonk Band. That remained the name of the band until Clay retired from live performances in 2001. Clay and Allene were married in Fallbrook, California, on September 6, 1975 and announced it later that night onstage at their gig.
In late 1976, the band decided to relocate to Texas following the emergence of a new music scene headquartered in Austin and led by country music outlaw Willie Nelson. Within two years, Clay and the band had become one of the most popular regional touring country bands in the Southwest. Another popular act at the time was a band called Ace in the Hole, featuring a singer named George Strait. The members of both bands became fast friends and booked shows together as often as possible. In 1981, Strait signed a recording contract with MCA Records and went on to become one of the biggest stars in the history of country music. But George didn’t forget his old pals. Over the years, Strait recorded many songs written by Clay and several of Clay’s band members. Also, when George became big enough to headline in large arenas, he invited Clay and band to open the shows for him for two and a half years in the mid-‘80s.
Strait, being the first major artist to cut one of Clay’s songs, opened the door to Clay’s having a second parallel career as a successful songwriter. Also, around this time, Clay’s band began touring in Europe-almost every year, and sometimes twice a year, for 22 years- thanks to a chance meeting of a famous German country singer named Hermann Lammers-Meyer at a nightclub in Houston. Hermann’s and Clay’s bands played many tours together in Texas and Europe over the years. During this period, as Clay’s music career progressed, he never stopped surfing. His love of the ocean is strong and whenever the band was off, Clay and his wife Allene were usually at the coast in Port Aransas, on a surf vacation to Costa Rica, or surfing in Hawaii while visiting his family. Often, after finishing a tour in Europe, Clay and his wife would take a week or two off and head for the Basque coast of France and Spain to go surfing.
In the meantime, Clay’s career as a singer and songwriter moved forward through the years, doing shows with many of the greats in country music, having many artists record his songs, and recording albums of his own. In 1998, while on a surf vacation to Costa Rica and Panama, Clay and Allene found a 4 ½ acre property for sale on an island in Panama that had a good surf spot right out front. They ended up purchasing the land and held on to it through 2001 when- like his Dad had done many years before- Clay decided to retire (from live performing) and move to a tropical island to surf bigger and better waves. So Clay and Allene sold almost everything they owned in Texas and in May 2003 moved to Isla Colon in the Bocas del Toro archipelago in the Republic of Panama. They built their own home on the property with a big veranda that overlooks the sea and that’s where to this day they love to play music with friends and family. Clay is still writing music and releasing new albums and new videos. You can follow Clay on his official page on Facebook and on the Clay Blaker channel on YouTube. All of Clay’s music is also available on iTunes and other major internet sites worldwide. At the time of this post, Clay and Allene have been married 41 years. Clay is 66, Allene is 62. And they try to surf every day. If there are waves somewhere, they’ll be on ‘em.
Between 1978 and 1987, Clay Blaker released several 45 rpm singles on various independent labels (dates and song titles not available):
Diamond Head Records
Texas Musik Records
Albums and EPs
What a Way to Live – Texas Musik Records (1982)
Sooner or Later – Texas Musik Records (1986)
Layin’ it All on the Line – Neobilly Records (1993)
Rumor Town – Neobilly Records (1998)
Welcome to the Wasteland – Neobilly Records (2000)
Still Rockin’ – Neobilly Records (March, 2015)
Still Swingin’ – Neobilly Records (June, 2015)
Still Country – Neobilly Records (September, 2015)
The Early Singles – Neobilly Records (March, 2016)
What a Way to Live – Neobilly Records (June, 2016)
Through the Years 1979-2002, Vol. 1 (Live) – Neobilly Records (July, 2017)
Through the Years 1979-2002, Vol. 2 (Live) – Neobilly Records (September, 2017)
MAJOR LABEL ARTISTS WHO RECORDED CLAY’S SONGS:
INDEPENDENT LABEL ARTISTS WHO RECORDED CLAY’S SONGS
Texas Jamm Band
Mary Jean McAdams
Stephanie Urbina Jones
Clay also had songs in three major motion pictures, several television shows, received several gold, platinum and multi-platinum awards from the Recording Industry Association of America for songs on various albums and twice contributed a song for the ACM and CMA album of the year. (George Strait- Easy Come, Easy Go, 1993) and (George Strait – Blue Clear Sky, 1996)