Claytown shows another side of local artist at The Cabin

Last Cabin show of the semester helps artist get going again

More stories from Elizabeth Gosling


Photo by Elizabeth Gosling

Clayton Brice is Claytown. He likes to play covers of older American artists, including Neil Young and Roger Miller. He came to The Cabin Saturday night and performed covers as well as originals.

Music can be anything. For Claytown, music transmits stories and life experience to audiences.

Clayton Brice or “Claytown” performed at 8 p.m. Saturday night at The Cabin to an intimate audience.

An Eau Claire native, Brice has performed music for about 15 years and also plays in a rock band called Whale House.

He started Claytown in 2012 with friends but now plays solo because the other members have moved away. He wants to develop himself as a solo artist and follow his own beat, he said.

“If I get a gig offer, I can just put my guitar in the car and go, I don’t have to run it by my band first,” Brice said. “So if a band forms organically… I’m open to that, but if that doesn’t happen for a while, I’m okay too.”

Brice was the last Cabin performer of the semester and reminisced of his time as a UW-Eau Claire student performing in the former Cabin. He mentioned there used to be photos on the wall of all the people who performed there.

He played two different sets of songs during the night. The first consisted of covers from different periods of time, ranging from the 1930s to the 1990s.

“It’s about serving the songs, carrying on the great tradition of songwriting and to tell stories,” Brice said.

During the second set, he performed Claytown originals as well as some selections from Whale House. He debuted a new song he just finished as well, called “Two Million Miles.”

Brice’s sound combines folk with acoustic and blues. He also gets into a wide range of musical styles, Claytown being his way of expressing the other styles of music Whale House does not express.

The artist is inspired by American songwriters and seeks to put his own style to their music, he said. He played “House of the Rising Sun” from Lead Belly and other songs such as “Copper Kettle.” Woody Guthrie’s hit “I Ain’t Got No Home” was also showcased in his first set.

“We have such a wonderfully rich musical history, so in the rock band, it is more influenced by rock and roll and everybody plays it,” Brice said. “But with this project it is more like giving back to the roots of music.”

In his own music, the lyrics are the most important and it is through them that he shares his own story. Brice’s parents were also musically-inclined and he said he grew up with music always around, as his dad was a professional pianist and his mom a singer.

Kayla Cooper, a freshman nursing student, said she liked the concert. Cooper often goes to The Cabin and said she does not normally listen to this style of music but appreciated the difference.

Brice said he would like to take Claytown farther in the years to come. He hopes to play in smaller settings such as coffee shops, houses and restaurants.

With new ideas, he wants to refresh his collection of songs. As more artists are putting their energy in videos, he will try to jump on that bandwagon and see what comes.

Music can be anything. For Claytown, music transmits stories and life experience to audiences.