After over five decades in the music industry, 76-year-old Delbert McClinton is still trucking. Or, perhaps, cruising is a more appropriate metaphor—and sometimes literal reality—for his career. The Grammy-winning blues singer is currently wrapping his twenty-third annual Sandy Beaches Cruise, which set sail from Tampa, Florida, with forty other artists and hundreds of fans on January 6. Over the years, the week-long SBC, as it is known to regulars, has hosted various musical greats, such as Joe Ely, Robert Earl Keen, and Asleep at the Wheel, with McClinton serving as captain. Not the literal captain, but you know . . .
And McClinton has plenty to celebrate on this voyage. His first album since 2013, Prick of the Litter, comes out on January 27, two weeks after the boat docks. No doubt he will preview a few of the twelve new cuts for his sea-faring fans before hitting the road again for eight additional tour stops with his band, Self-Made Men, and prepping for the September release of his biography.
But first, Texas Monthly is exclusively premiering “Doin’ What You Do,” a song that signals a return to the basics. Warbling electric organ is punctured by blues guitar licks and a wistful harmonica solo, an embrace of McClinton’s early sounds, a fusion of jazz and blues elements with a distinctly Texas lilt. Most importantly, the understated instrumentation allows McClinton to showcase his remarkably preserved blues pipes, of which Lyle Lovett once said: “If we could all sing like we wanted to, we’d all sing like Delbert.”
Check out the track below, and hopefully you’ll catch McClinton back ashore.