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Interview: The Clay Hess Band

The Clay Hess Band is from right here in Cincinnati! The Grammy award-winner Clay Hess played with Country legend Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder for several years and now has a new venture. After departing Skaggs, Hess toured and recorded with several of the top bands in the genre. With the help of long-time friend and musical comrade Randy Kohrs, Clay recorded his critically acclaimed solo album, Rainwith the title track going to #1 on the Bluegrass Today chart. The success of the project directly led to the formation of The Clay Hess Band in 2012.   

They released their latest single, "Cold and Lonely" earlier this year from the album, Just Another Story, released in July. A lot of the album is inspired from his life as a musician, and the many years he played with Ricky's Kentucky Thunder band.

It was a pleasure to chat with Clay about his past, present, and future! 

Tell us how The Clay Hess Band came to be?

I had a lot going on in life at that time. My mom passed away in October of 2011,

I had released a solo CD called Rain that was doing well, The Sierra Hull gig was ending, and I had been married for about a year and a half. My wife and I were talking, and we decided if it was gonna happen that would be the best time. So I called my son, and Irl Hees, and that was it.

What is your favorite memory from touring with Ricky Skaggs?

I loved being on the road. The travel. Seeing things all over the world and getting paid to do it is hard to beat.

What does the new album, Just Another Story mean to you?

This CD is a crossroads where I am musically in my life. The next one will have a different feel I’m sure. I’m not sure which direction though. Probably lean more traditional on the next one. That’s where my heart is.

What advice can you give local bands just getting their start?

Focus on vocals.

Pay close attention to detail.

Try to feel everything you do.

Think: timing first

What is next for The Clay Hess Band?

Tour harder next year and keep trying to build our fan base. Every year is a build for the next.

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