Country artist Clayton Smalley is the epitome of Merle Haggard’s “Working Man Blues”. Other than the nine kids Merle references, the song could be the Spanish Fork, Utah based singer-songwriter’s autobiography. A welder by trade, Clayton, a blue collar family man, is a throwback to when artists balanced the responsibilities of working, helping provide for a family, and pursuing a passion for music.
Born and raised in Southern California, Clayton grew up listening to artists like George Strait, Keith Whitley and Reba McEntire, which galvanized his love of traditional country music. As a teen he discovered his ability to sing, and with the encouragement of his friends and family, began singing publicly in church musicals and school talent shows. By his early 20s Clayton was fronting a local country cover band and singing karaoke every chance he could get. This is also when he began trying his hand at songwriting, even recording a CD of original songs.
At age 22 Clayton married his wife, Shannon, and with the birth of their daughter, Cheyeanne, made the decision to focus on raising a family and put music on hold. A few years later their son Austin would arrive, completing their family of four.
In 2018, with both kids in their teens, Clayton began to rekindle his pursuit of music by starting a YouTube channel and Facebook artist page where he quickly grew an online fan base by posting covers of his favorite country songs. Around the same time, Clayton formed the band Nebo Road. Along with playing regionally at fairs and festivals the band opened for national touring acts such as Charlie Worsham and Ned Ledoux.
In February 2019 Clayton friended Nashville songwriter John Griffin from an Instagram follow recommendation. The two teamed up and began weekly co-writing sessions over FaceTime. By July Clayton had enough songs to travel to Nashville and record a debut EP.
Whiskey Sunrise, produced by music veteran David Flint, was released on November 1st , and with the support of his fans, debuted at #11 on the iTunes Country Albums chart. The EP was also selected by the iTunes editorial team for feature on iTunes Country Main Page and Apple Music. Songs from Whiskey Sunrise have received airplay across the country and abroad and the EP was even named by Country Music France as one of the Top 10 Country Music EP’s of 2019.
Clayton is wasting no time capitalizing on his momentum. He continues to write songs, drawing from life experience and plans to release new music in early 2020.