Montgomery Advertiser (6/12/08)
Musician Clint Darby loves Montgomery. Yes, it’s his hometown, but it’s also a place where, if he wanted, he could play guitar and sing his songs every night of the week for the rest of his life, always to a warm, welcoming, perpetually growing audience.
“Montgomery is a good city for musicians — musicians are valued here,” Darby said. “I’ve played a lot of different places, but the people here seem to be a lot more open to different styles of music.”
Still, as much as he loves his town, for his musical future Darby is looking farther away from home.
His new CD, “Farther Away from Home,” is a collection of acoustic-based, melodic rock songs with multiple guitar parts and arrangements. He’s hoping the CD reaches beyond this region so that more folks can hear him at his best — and, most importantly, on his own.
Darby, 32, is probably best known as one half of the popular acoustic guitar/vocal duo Clint and Kip. A few years ago, he started writing and performing songs with fellow musician Kip Traylor, a local female vocalist and guitarist. Since then, they’ve played seemingly nonstop in Montgomery, released an EP and amassed a devoted group of local fans, breaking only to take their act on a couple of tours.
On “Farther Away from Home,” however, it’s all Clint Darby. On the 10-song CD, he puts his skills as both vocalist and multi-instrumentalist to use, playing not only acoustic and electric guitar but also bass guitar, piano, keyboard, and some percussion instruments. He officially released the self-produced “Farther Away from Home” late last month at the downtown club Off the Wagon, performing for an enthusiastic crowd of around 100.
If you’ve yet to see Darby perform, it’s not because he hasn’t been out there. Alone or with Traylor, he averages about 17-20 gigs a month — the June lineup totals 18 — mostly at local venues such as 1048, Nobles, Mellow Mushroom, Ruddles and, now, The Exchange at the Montgomery Renaissance Hotel & Spa at the Convention Center.
As with many musicians, Darby’s a big presence online. You can not only buy his “Farther Away from Home” ($10), but also hear his songs, watch his videos and read his blogs on his Myspace page, www.myspace.com/clintdarby, or on his personal Web site, www.clintdarby.com .To those accustomed to hearing him as part of a group, listening to his solo work may take you by surprise.
On his own, he said, “I play a different style — a more rhythmic style — and I rely on myself vocally as well. With Kip and the band, I’m singing less and playing more lead guitar. Playing by yourself, doing a solo, one-man show, makes your playing style fuller, more interesting and more diverse.”
Even as he embarks further on his solo career (“Farther Away from Home” is his second CD, a follow-up to his 2005 self-titled EP), he’s still pairing up with Traylor for shows, often with a full band — Alvin Sawyer on bass guitar/vocals and Josh Oswald on percussion.
But those shows are becoming fewer and far between for Darby.
“I would certainly have to say that I’m more involved in pursuing personal and solo endeavors,” he said.
The buzz is generating, and at this point, he said, more than half of his gigs are solo.
Darby’s sound is reminiscent of the contemporary artists he’s drawn to, such as Mindy Smith and Nickel Creek. But you can also sense the impact of his big, earlier influences like Mississippi blues musician Albert King, jazz guitarist Wes Montgomery, and rock guitar virtuosos Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix.
“I consider myself as a musician first,” Darby said, and that applies to songwriting as well as performing. The groundwork for songs, “almost seems to arrive subconsciously,” he said of writing music.
It’s only after the musical framework is laid down that he works on lyrics, writing about relationships or uncertainties in life, for instance.