Monroe native evokes Hendrix, blues greatsWritten by Michael Punsalan | | firstname.lastname@example.org
When Cetan Clawson’s uncle gave him a guitar at age 3, Clawson never imagined where his life would take him.
“It wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I realized what I could do,” said the 18-year-old Monroe, Mich., native. “But when I did realize, it was like all of a sudden, wham!”
Born into a musical family, Clawson began performing in his father’s rock band as early as the 6th grade. By age 14, he was competing in blues contests, auditioning for Limp Bizkit and playing for Chicago blues great Buddy Guy. Promoting his new album “White Heat,” Cetan Clawson and the Soulside will open up for ’70s rock giant Bad Company on Dec. 9 at Club Bijou. Clawson also headlines Mickey Finn’s Pub on Nov. 24.
“I think my dad has really been a strong component to pushing me toward a musical path,” said Clawson, whose father still performs as the drummer in the Soulside. “But he’s getting older and it got to the point where he said, ‘If you’re going to do this seriously, you might need to find some younger musicians who are able to keep up.’ ”
Clawson could have good reason for not dropping his father or renowned bassist Al Bolda from the Soulside. Having recently toured with Ted Nugent bandmate “Gunner Ross & TNT,” as well as having opened for international rock group “The Dirty Americans,” the Soulside have developed a sizable niche in the national rock community.
“We’ve been getting requests from radio stations from San Antonio, Texas, to Alabama to Philadelphia and New Jersey,” Clawson said. “I see a lot of potential to keep this thing going as long as I can.”
“White Heat” showcases Clawson’s intense flare on his six-string electric. While his fingered blues precision rivals other child musical prodigies like Jonny Lang, his album cover appearance bares an eerie resemblance to Prince.
“There’s some Prince influence, but more from Hendrix and that kind of thing,” Clawson said. The album includes a cover of Hendrix’s “Voodoo Chile (Slight Return).”
Original tracks like “Black Revolver,” “Short Fuse” and Clawson’s rendition of Chester Burnett’s “The Killing Floor” sell a bluesy rock maturity that doesn’t sound like it should come from an 18-year-old.
“There was never any push for a backup plan, like if I wasn’t going to make it,” Clawson said regarding his family’s support. “It was always, 100 percent we stand behind you. Go ahead and do your thing and see where it takes you. All of my experiences up to this point have been playing shows, researching, practicing and getting better. All those things are building me up. Now’s the time to make an identity out of the music. It has brought me to this point, so we’re ready to go out and bust our butts.”
ON THE WEB: www.cetanclawsonandthesoulside.com