Band and album news from Clay Hess

Clay HessClay Hess has announced a couple pieces of news this week.

First off, Zach Gilmer has joined his group on banjo. The young Virginia native had formerly worked with Gold Heart, Carrie Hassler, and Sierra Hull.

Also, a release date has been announced for One, the debut album from The Clay Hess Band. This project has been in the works for some time, delayed in part by the birth of Clay’s daughter Magnolia this time last year. Can’t imagine how that could impinge on your time.

The album is set for a February 1, 2014 release. Performing are the members of the band: Hess on guitar and vocals, his son Brennan Hess on second guitar, Irl Hees on bass, Nick Keen on mandolin, and Gilmer on banjo. Randy Kohrs is the only guest, playing reso-guitar.

Zach shared a few thoughts about this new adventure.

Zach Gilmer - photo by Ted Lehmann“I am really excited to be in Clay’s band. I loved playing with him in Sierra’s band so I’m glad to be back with him. And Nick Keene the mando player is one of my best friends.

The music is great and it’s actually the first major recording I’ve ever been on, so I’m excited about that.” 

And Clay shared a couple of samples from the album. They are clips from unmastered, rough mixes, so the final album audio may be slightly different.

First is Empty Old Coal Town, written by Marvin Clark and Laken Clark with Clay singing lead.


And here is Breakin’ Down, written and sung by Irl Hees.


Recording was done at the studio that Clay owns with Rick Hayes in Cincinnati, and will be released on their label, Kang Records.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.