All About Jazz’s website describes Cranston Clements as “arguably the most sought-after New Orleans guitarist in the last 30 years.” Rightfully so. Having touring and recording credits with New Orleans’ most notable names as well as with world-renowned stars (Boz Scaggs, Dr. John, Maria Muldaur, Cyril Neville, Stanton Moore), Clements continues to blow people away with his skillful and soulful mastery of the guitar in the blues, rock, R&B and fusion idioms – from stages on Bourbon Street to concert venues in Europe.
Clements was born and raised in the city of New Orleans. In the early 70’s he came on board as guitarist for the legendary brass-powered soul act, Wayne Cochran and the C.C. Riders. A launching pad for stellar players (bassist Jaco Pastorius earned early notoriety with the Riders) the band was an innovative, high-octane, funk powerhouse (cited in Pastorius’ biography as “the oven for Jaco’s genius”); the experience proved to be the watershed for Cranston’s musical evolution.
Post C.C. Riders, Cranston returned to New Orleans to start a family and embark on a career as one of the most in-demand session and touring guitarists in the region. He traveled the world with Boz Scaggs, Dr. John, and Maria Muldaur, as well as just about every notable New Orleans act, appearing with the likes of Irma Thomas, Johnny Adams, Tommy Ridgely, Chuck Carbo, Marva Wright, Joe Clay, Oliver “Who Shot The LaLa” Morgan, Allen Toussaint, Mighty Sam McClain and many others, accumulating dozens of session credits along the way. In the late 90’s Cranston joined forces with two of New Orleans’ most creative and innovative guitarists, Phil DeGruy and Jimmy Robinson, to form the fusion-inspired guitar collective “Twangorama.” The material is an onslaught of virtuosic, dizzying, true Guitar Hero madness, the sound of which has been labeled “guitorgy.” Where Ya At magazine’s review of the band states:
Any one of these gentlemen is arguably the best guitarist in the city, but together, they are indisputably the best collection of string pickers in the South…The collective virtuosos compose and arrange original work, but also take over classics from the Beatles to Led Zeppelin. Even their “covers” are inventive and original. Meticulously coordinated melodies and synchronized harmonies of the guitars will stun even the most particular of guitar aficionados.
Today Clements is recognized as one of New Orleans’ top instrumentalists, having twice been voted Best Rock Guitarist in New Orleans by Offbeat Magazine, the city’s premier music resource featuring the peer-voted “Best of the Beat” awards. He continues to share the stage with New Orleans’ finest, gigging constantly, recording, writing, arranging, and continuing to push musical and genre boundaries. In addition to recent trips to Europe with Cyril Neville’s Swamp Funk project he is featured throughout Cyril’s latest CD release “Magic Honey”, a funk/blues tour de force that has garnered rave reviews. On any given night you can expect to find him at a premier venue or “in the trenches” playing soul, blues, country, rock, or jazz with a laundry list of New Orleans’ hardest working musicians, those who have put the Crescent City on the map as the kind of town where you can wander into a local bar and happen upon a band whose passion and love for playing can change your perspective on life.
Let’s just say that Cranston Clements has changed many people’s perspectives…