Country musician Clay Walker performs Friday evening at Pearson Auditorium. Mark Wilson Photo
Clay Walker brought country soulfulness and hundreds of devoted fans to New Mexico Military Institute’s Pearson Auditorium, Friday, where the artist performed hits from a career in music that spans nearly 20 years. With nine studio albums released since 1993, Walker has sold more than 11 million albums, and has topped the Billboard country charts six times.
Walker played several selections from She Won’t Be Lonely Long, his latest album, including fan favorites “Wrong Enough to Know” and “Jesse James.” In front of an energetic crowd, Walker played No. 1 hits like “If I Could Make a Living,” “Live Until I Die” and “What’s It To You.”
Brittany Brice attended the show with her mother Stacie Carroll, each sitting in the second row with VIP tickets. Carroll said she has taken her daughter and son to at least 10 Walker concerts since 1994, and that she and Brice would meet Walker for the first time after Friday’s show.
“Being a single mom, having two kids, we would always go see him. It drew us closer,” Carroll said. “That was something that bonded us together, and we enjoyed it as a family. The three of us would go see his concert, spend the night and enjoy the festivities.”
Carroll, originally from Texas, said Walker is from the area where she raised her family, making it easy to relate to him. “We’ve just always enjoyed him. He’s a family guy. … He throws a lot of soul into it, he plays some rock ‘n’ roll. He’s an all-around singer. He doesn’t have a certain style that he goes by. He thinks outside the box.”
Kassie Brown attended with her husband Charles, who won tickets for the show from an online contest after providing a description of his wife’s service in the military.
“I’m very excited, this is something for my wife I wanted to do — it’s special for her,” Charles said. “I just wanted to show her how grateful I am for what she does and what she did for our country. “
Kassie, who served in the Army during the Iraq War, said she has been a fan since Walker released his debut self-titled album 19 years ago. “He’s a cowboy! He’s a country boy!
“… It’s genuine country music. It sounds like the good old country, it isn’t the new age country that everybody now likes. I like the old-time country, George Strait, Clay Walker. The way he plays, you can see it in his eyes, you can hear it in his voice. He puts a lot of heart and soul into it.”
Walker’s encore performance included the No. 1 hit “Rumor Has It” and fan favorites “Tight Rope” and “Fall,” which all generated rousing cheers at the conclusion of his 18-song set.
Walker’s tour continues today with a show in Santa Fe, and will next take the artist to Oshkosh, Wis., Des Moines, Iowa, and Petoskey, Mich.