Clay Cook stops serving others 

The title of Clay Cook's new CD, Self Serving, may seem ironic to those who know of his propensity to lend a hand to other musicians.

Between being a sideman for Sugarland and the Marshall Tucker Band and recording, producing and performing with the likes of local heroes Matthew Kahler and John Austin, he's barely had the time to help himself. But now Cook is giving a little more of himself and his songs as he tours in support of Serving.

The uninitiated listener might accuse Cook of covering John Mayer with his version of "Man On the Side," but, alas, a quick glance at the liner notes will reveal that song, as well as "North Star," were co-written with Mayer. The twosome recently received the Song of the Year Award from ASCAP for "No Such Thing" from Mayer's first CD. In the credits for Serving, Cook thanks everyone for buying Mayer's record, because it paid for his project. When Cook learns that his disc was reviewed in a national magazine, alongside Mayer's new disc, he muses, "My record probably cost as much as they spent on coffee for John's record."

Self Serving was recorded at Glen Mattullo's Orphan Studios, where other luminaries such as Indigo Girls, Shawn Mullins and, of course, Mayer have previously recorded. Cook plays every instrument on the disc and serves as producer. "This way if I'm not happy, it's my fault," he says. "It's not a power thing. I'm just putting all the balls in my court. It's time to shit or get off the pot."

Clay Cook plays CJ's Landing Fri., Oct. 24, and Eddie's Attic Wed., Oct. 29. $5-$7 (CJ's) and $10 (Eddie's).

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