The Red Clay Strays’ Album, Moment Of Truth
“These songs have a lot of moral fiber to them that we hold very close to us and hits on everything a great album should. There are songs about good women and those bad ones. Songs about hard times and being done wrong. About forgiveness and heartache. Moving on and becoming a better person. A song about the tragedies of war, trusting in God, and of course, a song about judgment and our moment of truth.”
More than a band, the Red Clay Strays are a group of musicians who came together to prove a point. The five guys (Brandon Coleman, Drew Nix, Zach Rishel, Andrew Bishop, and John Hall) packed up into a van to tour the country playing shows with the goal of being able to produce an album and create fans independently through touring. For the past five years the Strays have been cutting their teeth in the Gulf Coast music scene while simultaneously running the roads around the U.S.
Formed in the red clay of Mobile, AL, the five of you blend unique individualities and influences together to create genre-bending music that contains the sounds of classic country, rockabilly, and gospel-fed soul. How did you decide to call yourselves the ‘strays?’
Andy’s brother, Alex, was sitting at his house one day on his recliner while we were coming up with names for our new band and thought the name Red Clay Strays was fitting. We’d come up with several different names, and none of them stuck out to us at the time, but that one seemed like the best option. Over time, we realized that the name really related to us because we were all never the cool kids in school, and all have different personalities. To be a Stray is to be different — one who leaves the pack. You can also look at a stray as someone who is a road dog with ramblin’ fever. The Red Clay part of it represents where we’re from, good ol’ Alabama. We have plenty of red clay around here, so much so that the clay would ruin your clothes when you were a kid if you played in it too much. It’s impossible to get it out of shoes or whatever you’re wearing. Hopefully, that’s what our music is to folks — it sticks with them wherever they go.
Filming a video for “Wondering Why” and asking fans to send in videos of them and their significant others. What’s the backstory to the song? What inspired you to include fans in the video?
We wrote that song with a buddy of ours named Dan Couch in Nashville.
At the time, I was falling pretty head over heels for a girl, who I’m about to marry in a few days, named Laurie Anne Armour. She’s a woman who is so incredible in every way, and I’m somebody who I think is so un-incredible that those lines were easy to come up with at the time. It’s relatable to me because when you’re so in love with somebody for how wonderful of a human being they are, you count your lucky stars that they gave you attention in the first place and wonder why or how you got so lucky that they stuck around to be with you.
You started the Strays and Friends Facebook group for fans to share insight and behind the scenes progress to your five-years-in-the making album’s release. As an independent band you shared that your sole backing partners are your fans. Can you share a story of how fans have inspired you as artists?
I call them friends and fans. We’re just five regular dudes playing whatever comes to our heads. Making music is like breathing, sleeping, or eating. It’s what we have to do to survive this crazy life. The fact that people enjoy our music still blows our minds and probably always will. I don’t have one particular story to tell on how our fans have inspired us because the collective of our entire story with our fans is incredible to me. The fact that folks love us so much and want us to succeed so much that they gave us $50,000 in a week is inspiring enough to me. It shows me that we really have a shot at making this crazy dream a reality.
Launching Stories From The Road, a video series that shares the band members’ own stories leading up to the album’s release. You shared that you’ve found yourselves in some sketchy situations, but always work together to find your way out and back home. What has been the most challenging obstacle you’ve had to overcome on your way to releasing new music?
It’s hard to pick between being stuck in Colorado three days when our transmission blew or being stuck in Kansas City for three days when our turbo blew. However, I’d say Kansas City was the roughest. Thankfully, we made a friend out of the owner of the venue we were playing at, and he helped us get to the show, but when that was over with, we had to tackle the problem of not getting any power to our engine. Once the show was over the next day, we had to hire a mobile mechanic who showed up and helped us get our turbo issue squared away. We couldn’t find the correct clamp to fit the turbo to the exhaust, so we ended up using exhaust tape. When the exhaust tape eventually failed, the mobile mechanic thought it would be a good idea to use “treated wood” to fix the problem because “treated wood won’t catch fire.” Unfortunately, we found out about 30 minutes later that treated wood indeed does catch on fire. We were able to put the fire out with no serious damage, but we were stuck another day until we found a clamp that would fit. It was pretty much a nightmare…but we pulled through.
Moment of Truth, Album Release Concert, May 7th, at the Halstead Amphitheater.
Moment of Truth
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What can fans attending look forward to besides the chance to win the exclusive bundle with a signed guitar?
Red Clay Strays with Taylor Hunnicutt
Eventbrite - Live at Five Fairhope presents Red Clay Strays with Taylor Hunnicutt - Saturday, May 7, 2022 at Halstead…
Man, one hell of an opener — Taylor Hunnicutt and her band are some of the best people in the world and are top-class musicians. Fans can also look forward to hearing our album played live. We’ve done it at some places, but this will be the first time we’ve done it since the album dropped.
They can also look forward to new merch and FINALLY CDs. Folks have been asking for CDs for years, and we’re finally able to oblige them.
Summer touring includes stops at the Tennessee Motorcycles & Music Revival, Joe’s On Weed Street, Stone Pier Concert Series, and Lubbock Cattle Baron’s Ball. What’s your favorite part of being on the road?
The memories I make with my best friends in the world. I enjoy seeing the sights and catching new inspiration from meeting new people. All of the stories we reminisce on are from the bus rides and all the cool, interesting, and weird folks we meet along the way.