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"Billy Earl McClelland - Judgment Day"

Billy Earl McClelland
Judgment Day

Is it the Allman Brothers with a taste of Texas, or Texas with a taste of Alabama? Moving between those worlds, McClelland sings and plays his way through 10 guitar-heavy tunes, his excellent work on both straight and slide guitar abetted by Rod Smarr and Barry Bird Burton. McClelland’s vocals aspire to that sound essential to this style — somewhere between Gregg Allman and Lowell George. - Blues Access

"Bustin' with the Blues"

With several gold records, performances with artists that include Steven Seagal and hit songs recorded by Hank Williams, Jr. and Waylon Jennings under their belt, Billy Earl McClelland and David Brazeal have recently embarked on a new musical experience.

The guys have played together on and off for 30 years, but recently decided to form their dream band.

"I started doing some session work in Billys studio, and we started talking about our dream band - you know we musicians do that from time to time," Brazeal said. "Anyway, both of us love the authenticity of blues music."

Mojo:Saint (MySpace page) performs mostly originals, some youve probably heard before.

"Billy Earl has a catalog of terrific songs - songs that have been recorded by Delbert McClinton, Hank Jr, and Waylon Jennings, Brazeal said. You know, if the tunes are good enough for those folks to record and release, we ought to be able to do them justice since he wrote them."

The band will record its first album live in September, and it will be released in mid-October.

"If you like any electric blues and Southern or Texas rock; even roots, you are going to like Mojo:Saint music", McClelland said. - The Corner News - Carla Merrill

"Mojo:Saint - Interview (July 2006)"

Billy Earl McClelland (BEM) – (guitar, vocal)
David Brazeal (DB) – (drums, vocal)

1. How long has the band been together?

BEM: Mojo:Saint is a new project for both David and me – we formed the group only a few months ago. In fact, we are still experimenting with its musician makeup. One thing is for sure though, David and I will be the core, no matter if we bring in a permanent bass player, or a part-time B-3 or harmonica player – who knows maybe sometime we’ll even add a horn section. We’ll be wood-shedding in the practice room as well as playing around the area for the next couple of months to refine our show before heading out on the festival and club circuit in the fall to promote our new record.

2. How do you know one another and why did you decide to start the band?

DB: Billy Earl and I met when we were young and we’ve been playing together on and off for about 30 years. For the last 10 years or so I’d been playing with a country band and things began to get stagnant. I started doing some session-work in Billy’s studio, and we started talking about our “dream band” – you know we musicians do that from time-to-time. Anyway, both of us love the authenticity of Blues music. Billy did a solo record (Judgment Day) a few years back, and from that point on, has been determined only to play the music he likes – so we thought it was time to put a traveling band together and play the music we both love – the Blues.

3. How do you feel the music business has changed since you first began performing?

BEM: The basics of the music business are the same, but with the web and social networks like MySpace, it’s much easier for an upstart band to get the word out and build fan loyalty. Now, that said, it still takes a team of people to really execute it – there’s just too much to do for just one or two people. Also today is probably more like 30 years ago - when we first started playing - in that we need to book lots of live shows if we’re going to sell our records and merchandise. It’s still pretty unrealistic to get major radio airplay without a big label’s backing. For Mojo:Saint we’re happy to be able to play and promote the group by exploiting the new technologies, surround ourselves with a team of like-minded musicians and business partners, and then with a lot of hard work and a little luck, hopefully we’ll find fans throughout the world that appreciate what we’re offering up. There is one thing that absolutely remains the same – the song – it’s what really matters most – and, we’re very selective when picking our material.

4. How would you describe your music?

BEM: Dark, serious and fun. Seriously, our music is best “categorized” as “contemporary blues”. But if you like any electric blues and southern or Texas rock – even roots, you are going to like Mojo:Saint music.

5. Do you perform all originals or do you perform covers also? If you perform covers, please give an example of some.

DB: We play mostly our own material. Billy Earl has a catalog of terrific songs - songs that have been recorded by Delbert McClinton, Hank Jr, Waylon Jennings just to name-drop a few. You know, if the tunes are good enough for those folks to record and release, we ought to be able to do them justice since he wrote them. We’ve been around the business for a lifetime and have met some really good songwriters. Specifically for this upcoming project, there are a couple of Mississippi Bluesmen, who are now dead, that penned some of the material. The songs are great and we want their music to live on through our arrangements.

6. What has been the highlight of your career so far?

BEM: I’ve had many, many highlights – a few gold records – some memorable (and not so) memorable national tours, but I don’t think “The Highlight” has come yet. Hopefully it will come – we haven’t yet painted our masterpiece.

DB: There are so many, but recently playing with Steven Seagal and Robert Jr Lockwood certainly ranks up there.

7. Who are your influences?

BEM: There are too many to list - lots of traditional blues players and contemporaries too.

DB: BB King, Billy Joel, Little Feat, Richie Hayward - the drummer of Little Feat, and of course Billy Earl McClelland – guess that tells you which one of us is older.

8. Where did the name of the band come from?

BEM: We're big on nicknames -- Mojo Priest and Mojo:Saint are a couple of mine. My friend, Steven Seagal, recently titled his new record Mojo Priest, so we thought we’d better lock down Mojo:Saint before someone took that one too. It really does represent what we’re all about – a little magic and a lot of good, positive voodoo.

9. How would you describe the band's first album due out in October?

BEM: We’ll be recording our new record in September. It will be LIVE – I’ve never done a live record before, but I’m always up for something new and challenging. I’ve spent my entire recording career in studios doing multiple takes and lots of overdubbing – trying to make the record perfect. Don’t get me wrong, the studio is a great place; but no matter how hard you try, you just can’t create the energy that is automatically generated from a live crowd. There might be a performance glitch or two on it, but I promise you there will be plenty of Mojo:Saint soul to experience. It should be out mid-October on Jammates Records.

10. How much longer do you plan to keep performing music?

DB: That question is almost insulting – am I that old? There’s only one answer for most musicians, myself included, is until I die.

BEM: As long as we are able.


Billy Earl McClelland (guitar, vocal)

David Brazeal (drums, vocal)

Jammates Music Management
Pat Patten
1.706.333.0787 - Generic



Floral Park Bootleg - self released, 2006

Blues From the Heart of Dixie, Taxim, Compilation, 2006

Even More Good Whiskey Blues, Taxim, Compilation, 2005

Now And Then, Then And Now, Chips Moman Records, 2001, as a member of Billy Joe Royal's band.

Judgment Day, MojoBlues Records, 2000

Nineteen Years Old: A Tribute to Muddy Waters, Taxim, 1999, as a member of "Big" Bill Morganfield's band.

For the Fathers of Rock and Roll, Personal Records, 1986

Murdered for Love, 1986, as a member of the band Blue Monday

Ready or Not, Electra Asylum Records, 1980

Zero Hindsight, Electra Asylum Records, 1980

Billy Burnette, Polydor Records, 1979, as a member of Billy Burnette's (of Fleetwood Mac) solo group.

HALL: (Wet Willie)
20th Century Masters, Mercury

Best of Wet Willie, Polydor

Wet Willie Greatest Hits, Polygram

Left Coast Live, Capricorn

The Wetter the Better, Capricorn

Dixie Rock, Capricorn

Keep On Smilin’, Capricorn

Drippin’ Wet, Capricorn

Wet Willie II, Capricorn

Wet Willie I, Capricorn




Cusseta, Alabama native and perennial favorite, Billy Earl McClelland, has garnered for himself a hard-earned reputation as a top-notch singer, songwriter, session guitarist and producer during his prolific four decades.

Billy Earl’s notoriety started with Alabama groups W. C. Doan and Co. and Wolfe. The song, “Old Photographs,” written by Billy Earl, Kix Brooks (Brooks and Dunn), and former bandmate, Ken Beal became a hit for Capitol Records’ Sawyer Brown bulleting through Billboard Magazine’s country charts in the spring of 1988. McClelland’s guitar skills are showcased on the 1988 hit country duet, “High Ridin’ Heroes,” by David Lynn Jones and Waylon Jennings.

Billy Earl’s songs have been recorded by Hank Williams Jr., Waylon Jennings, Jerry Jeff Walker, Delbert McClinton, Lacy J. Dalton, Sawyer Brown, Billy Branch and T. G. Sheppard. As a session guitarist, McClelland has performed on recordings by Jerry “Boogie” McCain, B. J. Thomas, Hank Cochran and Willie Nelson, Tony Joe White, Brenda Lee, Chet Atkins, Hank Snow, Elnora Spencer, Mel Tillis, Ronnie Spector, Dr. Hook, Townes Van Zant, Nancy Sinatra and Billy Joe Royal - just to name a few.

Billy Earl performed in most of the Southeast’s major club venues in the early seventies, winding up in Atlanta, Georgia in 1974. It was there that he got his “foot in the door” of the recording business, eventually landing a full-time staff position at the Sound Pit. His cohorts in that legendary staff band have since graced the stages and recordings of such luminaries as Bette Midler, Olivia Newton-John, Paul McCartney and Wings, and the Crusaders.

After a brief return to Auburn, Alabama in 1975, he decided that Nashville was the place he needed to be as Country Music had left its traditional sound, moving more toward Rock and Blues influences. There he met veteran producer, Chips Moman (Elvis Presley, B. J. Thomas, Billy Joe Royal, etc.), a fortuitous happenstance that led to performances on hundreds of sessions for major stars, even a roommate friendship with Bonnie Bramlett (Delaney & Bonnie & Friends).

McClelland’s raw-edged vocals and guitar virtuosity brought him to the attention of Electra Records’ Jimmy Bowen, who signed him to a recording contract, resulting in the critically acclaimed album, Zero Hindsight.

Billy Earl performed with Nashville club favorite, Blue Monday, with whom he recorded the Kent Records album, Murdered by Love, which was the first release of newly recorded blues material for the Kent label in years. McClelland then released the album, For the Fathers of Rock and Roll, on Personal Records, followed by his critically acclaimed CD Judgment Day.

McClelland has also performed with rock ‘n’ roll legend Bo Didley, Blues God Father Robert Jr. Lockwood, toured with Blues’ great Delbert McClinton and shared billings with, Albert Collins, The Atlanta Rhythm Section, Sonny Terry & Brownie McGee and The Allman Brother’s Band. Billy Earl also served for several years as Tanya Tucker’s lead guitarist and bandleader.

Through it all, McClelland maintained his lifelong passion for the Blues. For years he’d travel to Memphis where he played as a session guitarist at 3 Alarm Studios. “I’d spend the day in the studio, and then sit in with Don McMinn at the Rum Boogie and play all night,” says the busy Bluesman. In 1996, McClelland moved to Memphis and worked as a songwriter and session guitarist, performing sessions for veteran producers like Jim Gaines (Stevie Ray Vaughn, SANTANA, etc.), Jim Dickenson (Bob Dylan, etc.), (Skip McQuin) and others. Billy Earl has even worked in Handy Park for tips with Mr. Levy Williams and the Gut Bucket Blues Band. “Mr. Levy let me play after noting that every band should have a white boy in it -- I was proud to be his”.

McClelland produced the first two Big Bill Morganfield (son of Muddy Waters) albums for MojoBlues Records USA and Taxim Records for European release. Five star reviews for Big Bill and Billy. Billy Earl Engineered and Co-Produced with Alabama Blues Artist, Debbie Bond an album of Alabama Blues Artist Music from the Heart of Dixie also for TAXIM RECORDS Europe.

McClelland has stayed involved writing songs and recording in his personal studio. He has been jamming with his friend Steven Seagal in Memphis and acting like a proud papa for his close friend Taylor Hicks’ American Idol success. And most recently, he formed Mojo:Saint with Alabama-area regional favorites and very good friends, David Brazeal (drums) and Larry Key (bass). Billy Earl and Mojo:Saint will continue wood-shedding through summer 2006 and then will roll-out their new show in the fall. A Mojo:Saint live recording is planned for a mid-October 2006 release on Jammates Records.

Memberships and Recognitions:
The Blues Foundation Corporate Sponsor
The Atlanta Blues Society
Memphis Chapter NARAS
Alabama Hall of Fame Achiever