Playbill

Last year was pivotal for Christy Claxton. After a decade of odd jobs, esoteric advanced degrees and stints in short-lived bands like the watsons, Claxton founded her own Lavender Lounge label and assembled her own group. With her band of Dirty Blondes, she released Out of Nowhere, her first solo album, and then toured relentlessly in Texas and on the West Coast. After ten years of spinning her wheels, Claxton appears to have finally dug hers into solid ground.

Born in Victoria, raised mainly in Giddings, and schooled in English and playwriting at Texas A&M, Claxton is Lone Star to the bone. But while she counts Tammy, Hank and Johnny among her primary influences, she also still clings to her teenage devotions to Donovan and Simon and Garfunkel, as well as certain other sounds from Sodom-on-the-Hudson. In a vignette that sounds like an episode of King of the Hill, Claxton's mother once scandalized a Bible-bashing North Texas town by taking Christy and her sisters to that godless commie musical Jesus Christ Superstar.

These diverse influences have simmered slowly in Claxton's soul and have made her music devilishly difficult to categorize, especially since the name Americana has been shelved by its creators. Claxton's songs are undeniably Texan, and fairly well folk, but they lean heavily toward the harder-rocking side of the music formerly known as Americana. Some tunes, such as "Best-Loved Girl" and "Funky Little House," are delivered in a twangy rap against rampaging rock backdrops. Others, like the gentle "Juan," showcase Claxton's husky, full-throated vocals in more intimate acoustic settings.

Claxton plans for 2001 to be as fruitful as the year gone by. She's launching a grassroots radio promotion blitz, and another tour is in the works, one in which she plans to play only smoke-free venues. It does indeed look as if the clouds are parting for Claxton.

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John Nova Lomax
Contact: John Nova Lomax