Clay Melton, gifted from the start

The Clay Melton Band plays for free on Tuesday night, Oct. 24 at the Town Pump.

When does inspiration find any of us? For Clay Melton, it was at the tender age of 11 when he listened to Jimi Hendrix playing "All Along the Watchtower" while riding in the car with his father.

The Clay Melton Band plays for free on Tuesday night, Oct. 24 at the Town Pump. 

The 11-year-old Melton was mesmerized by Hendrix' sound and style. So he asked his parents for a guitar. Soon he was strapping his electric guitar and amp on his bicycle and peddling his way through the neighborhood to a family garage where he practiced with good friend Kyle Tomchesson.

Melton's ability with the guitar was growing faster than anyone could imagine, and after a year and a half of lessons, he taught himself, by ear, as did Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughn. By 13, Melton was playing in clubs all around Texas. At 15, The Dallas International Guitar Festival proclaimed him one of the top 10 Texas guitar players under 20.

In October 2016, Melton, then 20, approached the SugarHill Recording Studio where such greats as Beyonce and the Rolling Stones have recorded. He met with owner, Dan Workman, who assembled the talented team of Steve Christensen, a Grammy-winning engineer, and Josh Applebee, an amazing drum tech. Planning began for "Burn The Ships," a full-length album from the Clay Melton Band, released in June 2017.