Clint Alphin writes words that will spark your mind and sings in a gentle tone that will soothe your spirit. The one-time Merlefest Songwriting Contest finalist and twice Kerrville New Folk finalist is set to release his fourth album, “Straight to Marrow,” which will be his second effort with esteemed popster and producer Neilson Hubbard.
You can hear the first single, “Out to California,” here at Glide Magazine. It’s a song that in Clint’s words warns us “about the dangers of method acting and the Golden State.” Of mid-album track “Bless Your Heart”, Clint said “This is a rumination on a traditional southern turn of phrase that many of us are all too familiar with. Taken a little more earnestly, it’s a call for a little more peace, love, and understanding.” The sentiments of both these songs are both music to my ears!
We thank Clint for working though the usual eleven questions for us. You can see him at the Third Coast Comedy Club on March 8 and at the Bluebird on March 21. Clint’s worked hard to get where he is today, and by the sound of this new record, he’s at a place where he is now set to get the break he deserves.
Where are you from originally, when did you move to Nashville and why?
I’m originally from a small town called Dunn, North Carolina. I moved to Nashville in 2003 to finish a Music Industry Studies degree from Appalachian State University with a recording studio internship at what was then Emerald Studios. I stayed in Nashville to pursue my career as a songwriter.
What are the first and the last records you bought, and where did you buy them? Were they CD, vinyl or digital?
The first record I ever owned was given to me in preschool or kindergarten on a field trip to a radio station. It was a vinyl 45, and to the best of my vague memory of it, I believe it was Eddie Rabbit, with “I Love A Rainy Night” on one side, and I’m not sure what was on the other – possibly “Drivin’ My Life Away.” I remember it had the Warner Brothers logo on it, and in my mind, I made the connection of Eddie “Rabbit” to Bugs Bunny. I didn’t think it was supposed to be Bugs Bunny singing or anything; I just remember thinking that was a funny connection.
I think the most recent music I’ve purchased is Mary Gauthier’s Rifles and Rosary Beads album on CD. It’s a fantastic project, and I’m hoping it takes home the Best Folk Album Grammy this year.
First and last live concerts that you’ve seen?
I’d like to tell you the first concert I ever saw was Randy Travis when Alan Jackson was his opening act. I think the album Randy was promoting was This Is Me, and Jackson was just about to release Don’t Rock the Jukebox. I’d like to say that for sure, but I think the truth may be that my first concert was Michael Bolton. Then again, I think my parents took me to an Amy Grant concert when I was really young, and I may have slept through most of it.
The last live show I went to was Andrew Peterson’s Behold the Lamb of God concert at the Ryman just before Christmas.
Whose star should be added to the Music City Walk of Fame?
Ray Charles (Seriously, how has that not happened already?)
Where do you go in Nashville for coffee and pizza?
Dose in Riverside Village for coffee; Five Points for pizza.
What’s your favorite record to ever come out of Nashville?
The first Will the Circle be Unbroken sessions (1972) by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band is my favorite for historical significance and content, but the second sessions from 1989, Will the Circle be Unbroken: Volume 2, is the best song-for-song collection of the three volumes.
Where’s the best place to eat late night after a show?
Man, I really don’t play a lot of late shows yet. I really like Jack’s Bar-B-Que, but they aren’t really open too late. It’s hard to beat a slice of Five Points Pizza though, or maybe Two Boots Pizza if you’re on the other side of the river.
The Bluebird calls and asks you to host an “In the Round.” Pick three local songwriters to join you.
This is a tough question. I play rounds at the Bluebird at least a couple times a year, and I’ve played with a lot of my favorite friends and local writers already. But, if I don’t count the folks I’ve already played with, off the top of my head, and forgive me for passing over anyone, I’d have to say Robby Hecht, Caitlin Canty, and Mary Gauthier. I really like those folks as writers and as people, and I think our styles would complement each other well.
What are your favorite music venues to play in town?
Anywhere that folks actually come to listen to the music as the first priority. The Bluebird Café is my favorite, but I also like The Well Coffeehouse in Green Hills and Commodore Grille on West End.
Name a musician who you’d like to see move here?
Finally, what’s in your musical future?
Well, as a line from one of my most recent songs says, “Only God knows where we wind up.” But, I just want to keep playing more shows and making more albums. Several people have mentioned that they’d enjoy hearing me do an album of old hymns, and I’d really enjoy doing that. I’ve also thought about doing a whole album of co-writes, or possibly a live album to reintroduce some of my earlier material to folks.