Reformed ClayBank Comes into 2019 with a New Energy
Posted on Bluegrass Today on January 7, 2019 By John Lawless
ClayBank, a powerhouse bluegrass band from North Carolina, hit the scene with a whomping stick in 2016. The young quartet won a number of prominent band contests, and within a few month had signed with a record label and a management agency.
Two years and two albums later, the group has announced some major membership changes, and an intention to leave their mark with a new album coming up in 2019.
Founding member Zack Arnold remains on mandolin, as does Jacob Greer on guitar, but they are now joined by Jason Davis on banjo, Jamie Harper on fiddle, and Kameron Keller on bass. The three additions are all multi-year veterans of Junior Sisk & Ramblers Choice, and Davis and Keller spent last year with Adam Steffey in his Highland Travelers band. They are among the cream of the crop when it comes to talented traditional grassers, just like Arnold and Greer, and the combination of these five is likely to generate some sparks.
By chance I happened to see Sisk this past weekend, and Harper, Davis, and Keller were all performing in his band. During intermission. I spoke with them about this new opportunity, and all three expressed unqualified enthusiasm. All five members will be partners in the new venture, something that these top pro sidemen had not experienced before, and the chance to play high-calibre music and own a piece of the rock is one they couldn’t pass up.
Arnold has built a reputation this past few years as one of the most promising young vocalists in bluegrass, with a strong tenor voice that can convey both power and emotion. But his ability to tour had been restricted since he was still in high school. Now that he has graduated, Zack is turning his full focus to music, and he and Jacob have been saving some new songs they have written for this next step.
Jamie also mentioned that he had some strong material he has been holding on to, so their upcoming Mountain Fever project should be something special.
Speaking for ClayBank, Greer says that he and Arnold are psyched to get started.
“I am beyond excited for Zack and I to team up with Jason, Kameron, and Jamie. We are merging with some of the very best musicians in bluegrass music today. Jason is phenomenal on banjo. Kameron has impeccable timing and taste on bass. And, the addition of the awesome fiddle playing of Jamie adds a whole new dimension to ClayBank. We can’t wait to begin recording and bring this band to a venue near you!”
They also expressed gratitude to Gary Trivette and Tyler Thompson who had worked with ClayBank from 2015 through last year.
Harper shared a few words as well about making the switch.
“I am really excited to be part of ClayBank with Jason and Kameron (that I’ve played music with for years) along with Zack and Jacob that I have watched mature into tremendous musicians, singers and songwriters. I think this combination of musicians and singers together brings a fresh energy to create and play with, and I’m sure looking forward to traveling and recording.”
The Andrea Roberts Agency will continue to represent the band, and they will retain their relationship with Mountain Fever. A new album is in the works for later this year.
1/30/18 MOUNTAIN FEVER RECORDS RELEASES FIRST SINGLE FROM NEW ALBUM BY CLAYBANK
"Queen of Carolina"
Available to Radio Today!
New Album Drops April 27
WILLIS, Virginia—Mountain Fever Records is elated to announce the release of brand new music from newly signed ClayBank. "Queen of Carolina" is available to radio and consumers today, and is the first single from the upcoming album, No Escape, due for release April 27.
Take yourself back to the 1970's and 80's when you first heard the sounds of J.D. Crowe and the New South and Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver. Remember what you felt when you heard this fresh sounding bluegrass with deep roots and vocalists that reached for those high lonesome notes throughout the make up of the song? Now close your eyes and listen to ClayBank's new single, "Queen of Carolina," and you'll find yourself in a time warp of excited emotion four decades later. That's what listening to ClayBank will do every time. Although half the band is not yet in their 20s, they somehow manage to emulate the great bands of that era while making it sound all their own.
"Queen of Carolina" is the first single from their upcoming album, No Escape, produced by Danny Roberts. Sung by the band's mandolinist, Zack Arnold, and written by banjo-player Tyler Thompson, the single speaks of the oft-told story of being on the road away from the one you love:
So hammer down and don't let go
Won't stop for rain, sleet, or snow
I've been gone too long and I'm coming home
To see my Queen of Carolina
"Queen of Carolina" is available to radio programmers via AirPlay Direct or a digital download by emailing a request to firstname.lastname@example.org. Consumers may purchase a digital download of "Queen of Carolina" via iTunes and Google Play. The new album, No Escape, will drop April 27. For more information on ClayBank, including a complete tour schedule, please visit www.claybankbluegrass.com. For more on Mountain Fever Records, visit www.mountainfever.com.
1/30/18 QUEEN OF CAROLINA, NEW SINGLE FROM CLAYBANK
2016 was the breakout year for ClayBank. The hot new bluegrass group from North Carolina knocked the socks off the bluegrass world with live appearances and band competition performances.
Much of the attention was generated by their young mandolinist Zack Arnold, whose soaring tenor voice drove the band as hard as did their dynamic rhythm section. An album was hurried out to take advantage of the buzz, and now this spring, No Escape, a new project on Mountain Fever Records will show whether they are a flash in the pan, or have what it takes to survive and thrive in the bluegrass world.
And judging from the debut single, released today, the name ClayBank will be on people’s lips for quite some time. Queen Of Carolina, written by banjo picker Tyler Thompson, shows the band having developed a more mature and confident sound, and a solid grasp on what appeals to fans in the present time. Fast, fresh, and with that blend of tradition and contemporary spirit that bluegrass radio should love.
In addition to Arnold and Thompson, ClayBank consists of Jacob Greer on guitar, and veteran grasser Gary Trivett on bass.
Queen Of Carolina is now available for download purchase from all the popular download sites, and to radio programmers at AirPlay Direct.
Look for No Escape to hit on April 27 from Mountain Fever Records.
12/14/17 MOUNTAIN FEVER ANNOUNCEMENT!
For Immediate Release
Mountain Fever Records Announces the Addition of ClayBank to the Label
North Carolina Band Set to Release New Music Spring 2018
Willis, VA (December 14, 2017)—Mountain Fever Records is pleased to announce the addition of North Carolina-based bluegrass band, ClayBank, to their roster. ClayBank will release their debut album for Mountain Fever Records Spring 2018.
ClayBank is a new and impressive bluegrass band born out of the fertile musical ground of western North Carolina. The unique story of the formation of the group centers on a bluegrass veteran, who joined forces with a fellow picker in his mid-20s, and two talented teenage musicians that are about to be introduced to the greater bluegrass world. Gary Trivette is the elder statesman of ClayBank, a bassist and banjo player who has previously played with groups such as Carolina Crossing and Southern Accent. While sitting in a side room at the Appalachian State Old-time Fiddler’s Convention in Boone, NC, in 2015, he found himself jamming with then 15-year-old mandolinist Zack Arnoldand guitarist Jacob Greer who was 17. As fate would have it, Trivette’s former Carolina Crossing band mate Tyler Thompson knew both Greer and Arnold from an early age. Soon, after all of the future members of ClayBank realized they had a connection with each other, the foursome established a weekly jam session with Thompson playing the banjo, Trivette on bass, Arnold on the mandolin, and Greer on guitar. As the musicians got to know each other and their blend began to evolve, it was the lead and harmony vocals of the quartet that began to turn heads. Named after the street in Ashe County where their weekly jams took place, ClayBank began to test the bluegrass waters by entering band contests at various festivals. They won the bluegrass band competition at the Union Grove Fiddler’s Convention in April of 2015 and came in 3rd place at the Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music of America (SPBGMA) convention’s band contest in 2016. That same year, they won the bluegrass band competition at RenoFest.
Though years apart in age, ClayBank's band mates are on the same page as far as the bluegrass trail they want to explore. “They like the same kind of driving bluegrass music that I do,” says Trivette. “It is strange to find people with that difference in age that enjoy the same music. As for the young men in the band, I can give them some of the history of bluegrass music, but they already know a lot about it. Our musical style can basically be found between 1980 and 1999 or so, influenced by Doyle Lawson’s original Quicksilver band.”
ClayBank’s debut album on Mountain Fever Records can be expected May 2018 and will feature mostly original songs written or co-written by the band. The group’s impressive array of three lead vocalists is complimented by their collective church-inspired ability to sing harmony vocals. All of that is buoyed by their awesome multi-generational musicianship. The band is filled with youth and a modern approach to bluegrass music while at the same time showing reverence for the traditional side of the genre.
For more information on ClayBank, please visit www.claybankbluegrass.com and www.MountainFever.com.
12/12/17 EXCITING THINGS ARE HAPPENING AND WE CAN'T WAIT TO TELL YOU ALL ABOUT IT!!