I admit it: I love Clay; I thought he should have won. This CD proves the point. The melodies draw you in and the lyrics speak to the heart. The songs showcase Clay's amazing voice with a relaxed feeling that was rarely captured on the American Idol show. Yes, there are a couple of "power notes" (as in "The Way") but mostly the songs manage to relax and energize simultaneously -- and all while remaining passionate and subtly affecting your emotions. Romantic, sad, joyful, shy, hopeful, surprised, resolution, even a touch of anger. Emotionally, the CD is brilliant. And it's very well engineered -- unlike "Bridge Over Troubled Water," the background vocals don't distract from Clay's voice by being too loud.
The acoustic guitar on "Invisible" was a surprise after hearing the song on the AI tour, but it's nice. My only (and slight) disappointment is that "Invisible" fades out rather than keeping the heartbreaking, whispered ending "Oh, wait, I already am" that Clay did in concert. "When You Say You Love Me" almost has a slight country feel; "No More Sad Songs" is harder both in tone and in the driving percussion. "Run to Me" may be one of the sweetest songs I've ever heard; the sentiment is so rare. The songs weave together beautifully and yet each one presents something different.
This is a CD not only to play in the background, but to listen to carefully, letting your ears feast on the rich vocals and the lovely melodies and allowing the passion and emotion of the lyrics to get under your skin. Not too many artists focus on melody and lyrics anymore--Clay's CD is a welcome change.
The Measure of a Man is an outstanding first release. And the measure of a great singer and a true American Idol.