The Clarks (The Clark Family Experience)
The Clark Family Experience, six young brothers ranging in ages from 18-28, is one of the most talked about groups in years. With their strong stage and recording performances and their adroit musicianship, insiders in the music business refer to them as the next big deal. The Clark Family Experience will release their debut album on Curb Records this Summer, produced by mega-star Tim McGraw and the world renowned, multi-grammy award winner Byron Gallimore. The Clarks come from a family of eleven children, with five younger siblings that include two sets of twins. Alan, 28(guitar, harmonica, and vocals); Aaron, 25 (upright electric bass and vocals); Adam, 23 (mandolin, electric guitar, and vocals); Ashley, 21, (fiddle and guitar); Andrew, 20 (drums and vocals); and Austin, 18 (dobro, lapslide guitar, keys and vocals), make up the Clark Family Experience.
The Clarks hail from Rocky Mount, Virginia and are six sons of traveling ministers, Freddy and Sylvia. The Clarks have been performing in front of audiences since they were small children. The Clarks learned to play their instruments from their father. "Dad was the catalyst," says lead singer and eldest brother, Alan. "He started me playing at four years of age on a Mickey Mouse classic guitar, on which I would play all the instruments. He'd say 'Play the violin,' so I'd put the guitar up to my chin."
It was a natural progression, that when the Clarks began to have more children, they began to teach each one to play instruments as early as five years old. It was not until around 1993, that the six older brothers had enough experience to be taken as a serious group of musicians since they played on a year-long festival circuit.
"We kind of made up our own instrumentation," says Alan. "Because we play with what's traditionally known as bluegrass instruments, people were expecting to hear a traditional bluegrass sound, but we were doing our own thing with a groove to it."
After an intense bidding war between record labels, the Clarks landed a recording contract with Curb Records. Soon after, the Clarks were offered a weekly guest spot on TNN's highly rated "Oak Ridge Boys: Live from Las Vegas" variety show, and multiple guest appearances on TNN's "Prime Time Country."
The Clark Family Experience landed opening act positions with top artists including Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Lee Ann Womack, Lee Ann Rimes, Reba McEntire, AC/DC, Trisha Yearwood, Trick Pony, Kenny Chesney, Martina McBride, Charlie Daniels, Dixie Chicks, JoDee Messina, Jessica Andrews, Billy Gilman, George Jones, Merle Haggard, Little Richard, Diamond Rio, Lonestar, Brooks and Dunn, Alison Krauss, Bryan White, Bill Monroe, Oak Ridge Boys, Neil McCoy, Tanya Tucker, Joe Diffey, Aaron Tippin, Roy Clark, Chicago, Styx, Huey Lewis and the News, and two summers touring on the George Strait Festival Tour.
All of the elements that make up the Clark Family Experience are intriguing and fresh. With years of musical background, already seasoned in their youth, the Clarks look forward to years of making music.
"We have been playing music ever since we can remember," says Ashley. "Every night Dad would get all of us together and make us practice, even though we did not want to play sometimes, he still made us, and I am glad he did."
"Whenever I play music I feel blessed," says Austin.
"Whenever we get together to play, it brings us to the level of the 'I'm glad I'm alive' feeling," says Aaron.
Adam agrees, "It's a way of life for us. Being brothers and spending as much time as we do together on the road brings us closer together when the music starts."
The Clark Family Experience are destined for major stardom. Their first four singles have already charted. Their very first single, "Meanwhile Back at the Ranch" was the 13th best selling single in country music for the year 2001, according to Billboard Magazine. The Clarks' debut album, entitled "The Clark Family Experience," was released August 20th 2002. Ashley Clark wrote the latest single, "Going Away"
"I have such great respect for these guys," says Tim McGraw. "As players, performers, and writers, they just kill me. I'm excited to be working with them."