Grand Lake: Clay molds Saturday sounds at Grumpys |

Grand Lake: Clay molds Saturday sounds at Grumpys

George Clay changed his last name for the stage, because its easier than dirt to remember; and the simple name and music he plays has made him a favorite musician in the Three Lakes area.As the new (old) kid in town, the finger-picking style guitarist, who plays primarily country and a variety of easy listening covers, has been a mainstay Saturday nights at Grumpys since it reopened under new ownership.From a young age, he grew into a musical career for which he blames Elvis. He also loves the songs of Gordon Lightfoot, John Denver, and artists from the folk era; and his repertoire includes classic and soft rock, and music from the 1950s, 60s and 70s.He describes it as a strong list of high energy, fast-moving material coupled with slow dance tunes. Songs include All My Xs Live in Texas, Against the Wind, and All Along the Watchtower, to Wake Up, Little Suzie, Why Dont We Get Drunk & Screw, and Whiter Shade of Pale, from artists from Alabama, the Allman Brothers and America, to Hank Williams, Sr., Stevie Wonder and ZZ Top.Clay has been a musician since 1983, playing in two or three-piece bands, and for 25 years as a soloist. His solo show includes a pile of sound from guitar and foot-base (sometimes simultaneously), singing, and a full sound through his drum machine, guitar processor and sound system.Hes taken his show to Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Tennessee, Kansas and Nebraska and has played all over the Colorado countryside, in places like Kremmling, Cripple Creek, Colorado Springs, Idaho Springs, Pueblo, Brighton, Denver, Aurora and Jefferson.During his extensive musical career, he built a band for Country Gold Productions to back Anne Marie, a female vocalist under contract with Foxfire/Wabash Records of Nashville, Tenn. That year he was awarded a trophy for best duo from the Country Music Jamboree television show in Indianapolis and after a year as the bands director, he asked to be released from his contract to continue a solo career in Colorado.He and his wife came to Grand County in 1997 to enjoy the mountain living. Making the area his full-time home, he formed Clay, Inc. and has built about 30 homes in the area (he studied engineering at Purdue and was general manager for almost nine years for an electronic fabrication shop). Music, he said, is the diversion or the therapy from the stresses of gainful employment.Friends and various guests are always invited and oft times join him on stage. I really enjoy others coming out and joining me, so I can go electric, Clay said, adding that he prefers playing duo because doubling the sound also seems to triple the material and audience capture. Just some of the many talents that join Clay on occasion include welcome addition Karl Smith, Mike Carter, and Marc Shaw. Hes got a good old sound, Shaw said of Clay.Grumpys, which was formerly the Foghorn years ago, resurrected after five years of extensive remodeling and offers an eclectic venue for live entertainment which is also a historic landmark. Owner Gary Gates kept the old signature foghorn and new features in the building include an outdoor deck seating area and new kitchen.

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