Most Viewed Stories

Singer/Songwriter Clayton John Releases New Single

It’s nice to know there are still rising artists such as Clayton John left in the music world. He isn’t the only one of his ilk, of course, but there numbers are so small in modern music. The Tulsa based singer/songwriter swears his artistic allegiance to thoughtful pop music as others wrote and performed throughout the 1960’s and 70’s, but he’s no retro act. When I hear his new single “River”, I hear an artist who has applied himself to transforming bygone fundamentals into the modern vernacular rather than approaching his art like trapping beautiful butterflies under glass. I hear music that breathes and lives in the now. It’s deeply personal stuff, as well, but his talents allow him to expand what’s close to his life and heart into a larger frame encompassing the experiences of anyone willing to listen.

The lyrics for “River” give listeners a look at the man behind the music. This is, in the end, an assumption; however, John gives us the illusion, at least, of an autobiographical piece. I am taken with the emotion he invests in each line though and came away from my first listen to this song convinced I’d just heard one of the most nakedly vulnerable lyrics penned in recent memory. His voice is well suited to carrying the lyric as well. What he lacks in vocal technical excellence he makes up for in sheer emotive skill. He inhabits each verse as if he’s waited his whole life to sing this one song and makes me a believer early.

He’s composed music that’s well suited too. Beginning the song with minimal accompaniment helps set the table for everything to come and hones our attention in on the aforementioned lyrics. “River” would have worked wonderfully in several permutations, but opting for a gradually developing full band arrangement is one of the best options. We’ve been treated by the song’s conclusion to a full-on musical drama with near magical gravitas befitting the song’s subject matter.

It centers around his piano playing. John moves from traditional piano to keyboards and back again during the track and the juxtaposition of these different sounds is one of the cut’s greatest strengths. The guitar playing is exceptional as well. It places an emphatic exclamation point on the deep emotions running through John’s lyric without ever leaning too heavily on cliché. The drumming, as well, puts a punctuation point on the arrangement without ever overpowering the song’s other elements.

It all adds up to one of the year’s finest standalone singles. Clayton John has brought his talents to the forefront in a way lesser artists will envy and his equals or better will admire. He deserves to be rated among the first rank of modern songwriters and his ceiling is high. He’s only just begun to stake his claim as a talented purveyor of thoughtful music and his ability to tap into an universal vein of human experience will distinguish him as long as he releases music. “River” is essential listening. 

Mindy McCall



Donate to IndiePulse Music Magazine’s Academic and Music Education Scholarship Program HeartBeat4Kids

IndiePulse Music Magazine creates Scholarships to help Youth In Need of assistance to complete their educational goals and stay in school.

Go to to learn more, Donations can be made at – Any Amount will help!

Support Our Publication

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: