Clay Walker is back at country radio with his new single “Catching Up With An Ol’ Memory,” a nostalgic waltz that evokes the same soulful sentiments as the hit songs from the early years of his career, like “This Woman and This Man.”
Walker sat down with Country Now before his recent show in Marion, Illinois, and shared why he wanted “Catching Up With an Ol’ Memory” to be his current radio single, how his Texas to Tennessee album is an authentic representation of his life, and how TikTok is playing an unexpected role in his career. Walker even continued the conversation into the concert. A few songs into his setlist, he spontaneously told the crowd about a previously unanswered question – and his newfound response.
Walker shared that he’d never been asked if there was a song that inspired him to want to be a country singer, then told the audience about the moment he heard that song for the first time. The “Live Until I Die” singer was about 12 years old, riding with his father on muddy roads by fields full of cows. “This song came on the radio and I remember telling my dad right then, I said, ‘Dad, that song right there, Daddy, I wanna sing songs like that. That’s the greatest song I’ve ever heard…’ This is my favorite song and the one that inspired me to sing country music,” Walker concluded as the fiddle played the intro to George Strait’s “Amarillo by Morning.”
Listening to Walker’s current single “Catching Up With an Ol’ Memory,” the influences of Strait and other country music icons like Keith Whitley can be heard throughout the song. Walker shared that the song was inspired by Whitley’s “Between an Old Memory and Me,” where he laments about wanting to be left alone at a bar while he remembers an old flame, singing “I just need to be alone sometimes / While she goes walkin’ through my mind.”
Written by Walker, Jaron Boyer, George Birge, and Lalo Guzman, “Catching Up With an Ol’ Memory” takes a similar approach to Whitley’s tale, being alone at a bar reminiscing about a lost love, but emphatically saying that he misses her and how the bar takes him right back to special moments with her.
“Girl, I still miss you / Something good, so good about this place brings me right back here with you / Yeah, we’d lean it back, light it up, tip it up till they asked us to leave / If you see me drinking alone tonight don’t feel sorry for me / ‘Cause I’m just catching up with an ol’ memory…”
Walker shared why he told his management that he wanted to release it as a single to radio. “During the writing process, the song just kept getting more and more soulful. Those are the kind of songs I’d rather take to…and the kind of song that resonates with my core fan base.” He added, “My fans know that this is the kind of song that is in my wheelhouse.”
The single comes from Walker’s latest album, Texas to Tennessee, which he describes as a mirror of his life. “All the songs are very cohesive,” shared Walker. “I wrote all of them and they are all a reflection of moments in my life. Because I was able to write on all of them, the fans just get that much more of an insight into who I am.” In addition to “Catching Up With an Ol’ Memory,” Walker named “I Just Want to Hold You” as another favorite from the album.
In addition to his autobiographical songwriting, Walker also uses TikTok to share even more about his life with fans. From going behind the scenes of his ranch to performing cover songs and sharing clips from his concerts, Walker loves using the platform to engage with rising artists and fans.
“TikTok is the most fun I’ve ever had on any platform,” admitted Walker. “Mainly because it is about singing with other people, duetting and stitching, but it’s also allowed me to connect to new and upcoming artists, some of which are huge on TikTok, but not that well known in the country music world yet.”
One of those connections was with rising star Alexandra Kay, who ended up joining Walker and Tracy Lawrence as an opening act earlier this year.
Even 2022 ACM New Male Artist of the Year Parker McCollum duetted Walker on his hit song “Hypnotize the Moon.”
Clay Walker has been surprised by how his presence on TikTok has played an unexpected role in his career, sharing that he’s being recognized in public just for his TikTok videos. He’s excited about how the platform is helping introduce people to his personality and his music as well.
“The reason I love Tik Tok is because it gives people a way more personal experience with me as an artist and with me as a person… I feel that it connects me to them on more of a personal level, because I’m getting insight into their lives as well.”
Walker is on the road supporting his new single and album with a rigorous schedule that could be tough for anyone, but especially for someone who has managed a chronic disease for 26 years. Walker was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 1996, but continues to thrive as an entertainer. He revealed to Country Now about the “dark time” that recently forced him to change his treatment plan. “I realized I gotta change something. Something’s gotta change. But it was me being my own advocate. Not my doctor saying, ‘Hey, we need to change.’ It’s me going, Hey, I’ve done great this far. I’m not gonna go backwards. So tell me, what’s better. What can I do now? What can I do different?”
Clay Walker hasn’t had a relapse since starting his twice-yearly Ocrevus infusions and continues to live life to the fullest, even on the road. “It’s rare for me to go into a hotel room because I do have all the things that I need on the bus, including a set of golf clubs,” he grinned. When he’s not on stage, you can likely find him staying active at the nearest golf course.
In addition to his solo headlining shows, Walker is also teaming up with Tracy Lawrence this fall. The pair’s tour starts November 3 in Norfolk, VA and wraps up on November 12 in Macon, GA. The long-time friends also recently filmed an episode of CMT Campfire Sessions, which aired on Friday, July 29 at 10/9c.