Clay Hess: Gold Rush

Adam Steffey & Clay Hess “Gold Rush” – Modern Music Workshop

Here’s some great flatpickin’ by guitarist Clay Hess, who is joined by Adam Steffey on a song entitled Gold Rush. This vid was shot at “The Gathering” in St. Petersburg Fl back in January of 2009 and sponsored by the Modern Music Workshop.  

Clay has all the elements of the modern day flatpicker with a deep knowledge of The Clarence/Rice style, and then some. His tone is about as good as it gets with one smooth line after another. If you are not familiar with Clay well, he played guitar with Ricky Scaggs for 3 years so… totally expect to hear great playing when you listen to Clay Hess.

Here’s Clay’s bio:

“Clay began playing guitar at age nine after hearing Tony Rice’s landmark recording, “Manzanita.” From there, Clay’s life was changed because all he did was play his old cheap “guitar. Before too long, Clay got his first “real” guitar when his dad bought him a new Martin D18 for his birthday. Clay continued to hone his skills and develop his own style, winning guitar contests along the way, including the Ohio State Guitar Championship in 1995. When he was 19, a friend told him about an open audition at Dollywood. Clay landed the gig, playing guitar with the band, True Blue. Fellow musicians were noticing Clay’s talents as a country and bluegrass guitarist. One of them was multi-Grammy Award winning country/bluegrass artist Ricky Skaggs.
Eventually Clay left Dollywood to return home to Ohio. He was working in construction and had nearly quit playing altogether when Ricky Skaggs called in 1999 and asked him to fill the guitar slot for Kentucky Thunder. Clay thought the call was a joke and hung up the phone. Ricky called a second time and convinced Clay that the offer was real. Clay was thrilled at the opportunity to play rhythm and lead guitar with these stellar musicians. Clay spent the next three years performing with Kentucky Thunder. While Clay was part of the band, the International Bluegrass Music Association awarded Kentucky Thunder their Instrumental Band of the Year Award for both 1999 and 2000. Clay recorded on three projects with Skaggs, and was awarded a Grammy for his participation on the project “Soldier of the Cross.”
After leaving Skaggs’ band, Clay toured with The Mark Newton Band playing mandolin and then guitar before joining Mountain Heart. Shortly, he left to join one of the hottest young bands around, Sierra Hull and Highway 111, before starting The Clay Hess Band.”  read more