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By GINA VIVINETTO
© St. Petersburg Times, published February 8, 2001
Don't let Clay Davidson fool you: Sure, the country crooner was discovered singing around a campfire by the president of his record label. And his big hit Unconditional, from his debut disc of the same name, is a weepy ballad.
But the Virginia-born Davidson, 29, is a Southern rocker through and through. Think Lynyrd Skynyrd and Hank Williams Jr. Proof: Look at that long hair and that fuzzy face. Proof: The rest of Unconditional's material deals with heartache and everyday hassles by foot-stomping the heck out of 'em. Davidson boogies with his blues.
His voice, too, is husky, making the vulnerability in tunes such as Plain Ol' Pain, inspired by an off-the-cuff remark George Jones made, that much more powerful.
Big boys don't cry? Maybe not, but -- sniff, sniff -- they want to sometimes.
Clay Davidson opens for Mark Chesnutt at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. today at the Florida State Fair, Florida State Fairgrounds Entertainment Hall, U.S. 301 off I-4, Tampa. Tickets are $5, plus gate admission. (813) 621-7821.