Clay Melton melts faces in the wickedly rockin’ track “Imaginary Traveler”. Featuring a bombastic, relentless guitar riff and oh-so-amazing energy, “Imaginary Traveler” is the lead single from the live album and concert video Live In Texas. Southern rock hasn’t rocked this hard in decades. Melton’s gritty vocals and bluesy-toned lead guitar whips the listener like whiplash from a mechanical bull. Melton, 27, born in Louisiana and raised in Texas combines the spicy and flair of the two cultures melting together. A bit of gumbo and a whole lot of Texas pride goes into each and every note in this blues-rock masterpiece. 


With “Imaginary Traveler” being a recording of a live performance, you can almost touch and feel the sweat pouring off Melton’s stage presence. He’s in total command. As a listener, I immediately became immersed into his orbit – the sonic blast is a tight bluesy guitar backed up by a quick, but not rapid percussion. The rhythm to this song is salacious and palpable. That word again – sweaty. There’s something very sexy and seductive happening with the lead guitar. Even at the bridge section, the ringing tones glisten and strike like steel being forged. The guitar takes it to the max.

I need you to get me there, Melton sings. His voice is weathered – like the scratchy, distinctive narrator at your local tavern. He has character. He’s made for songs like this – blues rock songs that leave the listener raising a glass of bourbon into the air. You know I’m not a traveler, I’m just a wanderer, he continues. The bass and the drums kick and scream and elevate his voice even more. Because it’s a live recording, there’s a bit of a natural bounce with his vocals. Sometimes the vocal mix comes in a little lower than it would if this were a pristine and perfect mix. I can confidently state that I for one preferred this imperfection – that’s the way to experience and immerse yourself into music. I wanted that worn-leather appeal. It makes it so much more interesting. 

On second listen, the groove festers even more. You feel that subtle nudge, that extra pizzaz pestering the guitar. I think the guitar still takes top billing, as does Melton’s unique vocal delivery, but bass lovers don’t dismay. Topped off with the steel-like guitar riffs, it’s an intoxicating blend. 

I think this song is about labels and seeing the world through a different lens. He sings that he’s not a traveler, he’s a wanderer. That reminded me of the idea of not being lost if you never know what you’re looking for, or if someone thinks you’re not up to their level because you don’t fit the mold. In your mind, you are living the dream you want and they can take their idea of fitting in and stick-it-you-know-where. That delicious guitar, wailing about like freedom itself, is proof-in-the-pudding, that the blues and rock and roll is alive and very well courtesy of Clay Melton. Melton’s excellent “Imaginary Traveler” is very real. 

Garth Thomas