In some cases, Clinton Gregory was ahead of his time. Though the major labels still have a stronghold on the singles chart, it is far more possible now for an artist to have success at radio than twenty years ago. However, if you turn back the hands of time to that era, Gregory was doing just that. He racked up several hits for independent label Step One Records, including the memorable "If It Weren't For Country Music (I'd Go Crazy)." After a lengthy absence, the singer returns to the music scene with "Too Much Ain't Enough."
"I got lost for a little while, but that happens, you know," the singer reflected to Billboard. "I had to learn some things, and hopefully I did." He was pleasantly surprised to find that many in the radio world still remembered those hit records at the beginning of his career. "A lot of the people I met years ago are still around, and are very nice and supportive. We really appreciate that."
One of the highlights on the album is "Too Country for Nashville," which he admits is a statement song, of sorts. "It's kind of a true story, I guess," he says. "You don't hear a lot of traditional country around here anymore. You have to evolve, and have some of the new stuff come around, but I hope some of the old things are remembered. A lot of people say 'That's too country,' but I say that's ridiculous. I believe in change. It's got to be there, and I respect all kinds of music. I just don't want to see traditional country get totally lost."
During the years, Gregory admits to going through some challenging times -- personally and financially. He gives credit to two men -- albeit from different musical walks for inspiring him. One was legendary songwriter Hank Cochran. "I went to visit Hank, and we became friends. He's the kind of person that you go visit, and you leave four years later. He was a good man, and did so many great things," he says.
The other was Neil Young, whom he worked with on his "Prairie Wind" album, as well as the movie documentary Neil Young: Heart of Gold. "I wasn't expecting any of that," he admits. "That session happened in about forty minutes. I was down the street, and my friend Grant Boatright, who worked with him, said they needed a fiddle. So, I borrowed one from John Stone. I did a lot of other stuff with him in the movie we did. He's a fine man. There's no ego at all. He treated me like he knew me all of his life."
He credits one of Nashville's most lovable characters for helping to kick in the doors for him career-wise. "Thankfully, I had Buzz Ledford in my corner. Anything that happened to me, he made it happen. He wouldn't take no for an answer. There were a lot of unwritten rules that we ran upon, like the New Faces Show. They normally wouldn't have anyone on it who wasn't on a major label, but Buzz raised enough cain that we got on there."
Gregory says he is just delighted to have another chance at this point in his career. "I was out of the picture for about fifteen or twenty years," he said "It didn't seem like that long until I started thinking about it. So much has changed that I don't know how it works anymore - if I ever did."
- The 615