“Imaginary Traveler (Live)” by Clay Melton

“Imaginary Traveler (Live)” is the hot new single from Texas blues guitarist Clay Melton. A follow-up to Melton’s 2021 debut EP Back to Blue, “Imaginary Traveler (Live)” is from the new live album, Live in Texas, which lands this June. Recorded at Dosey Doe in The Woodlands, Texas, Melton’s synergy not only with his guitar is documented, but the undeniable energy from the crowd. Fitting that the word ‘imaginary’ is in the title, as this song takes the mind and the heart to a variety of soundscapes. 

Melton’s guitar rattles like it’s on a mission. The force of the guitar cuts right through the song, with Melton’s own raspy, distinctive voice following suit. This is the perfect choice for a lead single, and I’m assuming the opening song at the concert. It sets the tone quickly and ramps up the energy to a serious beat. The percussion, percolating at a certain temperature, keeps its rightful distance from the guitar. It’s a great companion piece, but Melton’s guitar is the true ace in what he’s been delt. 

There’s a definite Texas sheen or vibe to this song. It’s not swampy or labored, but quick and direct. It’s an engaging conversation, really, with the quid-pro-quo happening between Melton’s lyrics and the sultry guitar licks. The song plays out like a way of life, a mantra for the modern musical troubadour. I think in his dreams, he’s able to escape and live a life the way he wants. That universal feeling of triggering that enthusiasm is conveyed. “Imaginary Traveler” plants a fierce stake into the blues and rock grounds. The song is rooted in American blues, with a tinge of funk. During some moments, it has a vintage tone (think Grand Funk Railroad…which is perfect because Melton had opened for the 70s icons on one occasion). You can tell his influences are rock but Melton’s leanings towards roots and blues is to be celebrated. He champions the sound with ease and finesse. At 27, he sounds and plays well beyond his years.

This track has more depth and interesting twists and turns with each listen. Just when you think it’s going to settle-in and marinate for a bit on a few notes, those quick notes evolve and quickly escalate. During some listens I even forgot there were vocals – the guitar was just so beguiling!

“Imaginary Traveler (Live)” was recorded in January 2022 by five-time GRAMMY Award winning engineer, Malcolm Harper of ReelSound Recording Co (out of Austin, Texas), mixed by Sebastian Cure (Barranquilla, Columbia) and mastered by two-time GRAMMY Award winning engineer Camilo F. Silva (Chia, Columbia). Melton is punching his ticket, song by song, and on his way to global stardom. “Imaginary Traveler” is the ideal visa, an exceptional passport for any music fan. If you’re a fan of Eric Clapton, Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown, Grand Funk Railroad, Mark Farner, Tab Benoit and Joe Bonamassa, then the clock is ticking – get your butt in gear and add “Imaginary Traveler” to your playlist. Even better, pre-order Live in Texas today. 

Michael Rand

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