The Henry Clay People

henry clay people

“We want our music to be accessible, but still mean something,” says lead singer/guitarist Joey Siara. “That’s the spirit of this band”nothing we’re doing is rocket science, but we’re playing the music we love. And if some people recognize that, great. Rock ‘n’ roll is rock ‘n’ roll.”

That statement sums up The Henry Clay People better than I can. Their songs reel you in and never let go, even after countless listens. And if you are lucky enough to see them live, well then, you’re hooked for good. As I mentioned in my SxSW recap, there isn’t a band that has more fun playing live. I have them seen them open up Lolla at 11:30 am, bust out six tunes in our live session the following morning (we were all a little hazy), and play to capacity venues. Each and every time they were phenomenal. They live in the moment and make it contagious.

On Somewhere On The Golden Coast, The Henry Clay People’s TBD label debut, the LA quintet expand on what made For Cheap Or Free so damn catchy. In fact you will even hear freshened up versions of “This Ain’t A Scene” and “Working Part Time” from their prior release on Somewhere On The Golden Coast.

But in the new material, The HCP offer a couple down tempo tracks in “A Temporary Fix” and “Two Lives At The End Of The Night,” giving Joey a chance to showcase his vocals. “Two Lives” a great choice to finish an album that is, more often than not, rocking you to your core. And speaking of those new rockers, “Keep Your Eyes Closed” is my favorite. I’ve been humming that chorus, “Half my life was half your life …” since they played out our session back at Lolla ’09. “End Of An Empire” is another rabble-rouser that features solid work on the keys. It’s a fantastic tune to scream while after a long day of drinking tallboys – I know this from experience.

This album is everything I thought it would be and then some. It’s a must buy if you like authentic rock and roll performed by a group of sincere and genuine musicians. Somewhere On The Golden Coast is out tomorrow.

The Henry Clay People – Your Famous Friends (via The Tripwire)

The Henry Clay People – End Of An Empire (from the HearYa Live Session)

The Henry Clay People – Keep Your Eyes Closed (from the HearYa Live Session)

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The Henry Clay People are the embodiment of a live studio session. They are sincere, authentic and make no apologies for creating straightforward three-chord American rock music.‚  They hate wearing headphones in the studio, prefer to record like it’s a rehearsal (they plan to cut their next record like this) and are comfortable with slight imperfections as long as the vibe is right. We were serving up stiff bloody marys with over-sized celery sticks looming out of the cups like redwood trees on this Lollapalooza morn. The vibe was certainly right.

I’ve been a fan of this Orange County, CA band, led by brothers Joey and Andy Siara, since they released For Cheap Or For Free last year.‚  As I listened to the album, I thought their sound was like Stephen Malkmus fronting The Hold Steady. I got my first glimpse of them live at SxSW at the party we co-hosted then we caught their set at Lollapalooza this year as the rain started falling. They won over the day one Lolla crowd immediately with their energy and addictive party songs.

The following morning we all met up at Shirk’s studio, exchanged pleasantries and started nursing our collective hangovers with the aforementioned hair of the dog and vegetable adornments. The band set up in record time and started tearing through their new material much to our delight. The only old track performed was “Something In The Water” upon request by Shirk.

The Henry Clay People are another one of those bands that are impossible not to love. Secretly, all the HearYans wanted to take the after session party to a local bar and spend the rest of the afternoon tossing back shots and slapping high fives with the band, but like all artists passing through, The Henry Clay People had a full schedule and were busting their asses to make a name for themselves. Here’s to hoping they accomplish that mission.

The Henry Clay People Circus Band Intro

Exclusive: The Henry Clay People – End Of Empire (new track)

Exclusive: The Henry Clay People – The Switch Kids (new track)

Exclusive: The Henry Clay People – Keep Your Eyes Closed (new track)

Exclusive: The Henry Clay People – Randy, Where Is The Rest Of Me (new track)

Exclusive: The Henry Clay People – Something In The Water (old track)

Exclusive: The Henry Clay People – Running On Empty (Jackson Browne Cover)

Download The Henry Clay People Session as a zip.

See all the session videos at our YouTube channel.

Video: The Henry Clay People – Randy, Where Is The Rest Of Me?


The Henry Clay People are playing about 7 sets at SXSW, so there’s no question about the bands determination to win over crowds the old fashioned way. To me, their sound is like Stephen Malkmus fronting The Hold Steady. The Henry Clay People follow Ferraby Lionheart at 1pm on Wednesday at our 15 our day party at The Paradise. That’s when the dancing starts.

The Henry Clay People – Something In The Water

The Henry Clay People – Something In The Water

The Henry Clay People “Something in the Water” from Adam Mesinger on Vimeo.

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The Henry Clay People – For Cheap or For Free

by Woody on November 20, 2008

Although it was founded years ago, I recently found out that one of my favorite music blogs, Aquarium Drunkard, owns their own record label. We share very similar taste in music, so I’ve been anxious to learn more about their artist roster. The Henry Clay People is the first release I’ve heard from Autumn Tone Records and their album For Cheap or For Free is fantastic.

The LA foursome are comprised of a set of brothers and school friends who bonded over a love of Pavement and The Replacements. Their sound and lyrics instantly reminded me of The Hold Steady, with a dash more punk thrown in for flavor. Much like the The Hold Steady, The Henry Clay People are unpretentious and brash and I’m sure they plug in on stage with canned beer in hands and have a blast. In fact after SXSW, Esquire named them “the most intoxicated band in Austin” and also said that “the usually amazing band was made even more amazing by the fact that they could barely stand.”

For Cheap or For Free starts off with a sweet guitar hook on “Something In The Water” with vocals that sound like Hutch Harris of The Thermals. You’ll hear similar talk-singing vocal styles on the wordy, but excellent tune “Working Part Time.”‚  They also offer up a couple slow, drunken, country-tinged ambles with “Rock and Roll Has Lost Its Teeth” and “Bulls Through.”

There are certain bands that are just more fun to see live when you are drinking, like Drive-By Truckers, The Hold Steady, and Lucero. The Henry Clay People have the definite potential to be added to that list. I’ll need to see them in person to know for sure.

The Henry Clay People – Something In The Water

The Henry Clay People – Working Part Time

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