Clay Krasner grew up in a musical home in Indiana, influenced greatly by his father who was a choir director and piano teacher. After studying piano for six years, Krasner switched to the guitar in seventh grade to play in a local band with his older brother who was the drummer. He started on electric guitar, but it wasn’t long before Clay discovered the discipline and craft of the classical guitar and moved into serious study of it at 14. It was during his junior year in high school that he first picked up the electric bass.
Following high school, Krasner moved to DeLand, Florida, to study classical guitar at Stetson University under Stephen Robinson, a former student of Andres Segovia. His sophomore year brought Clay the opportunity to play classical guitar with jazz legend Dave Brubeck in his Christmas cantata, “La Fiesta de la Posada,” and in his junior year, Clay won the Stetson University Concerto Competition on classical guitar and performed as a guest soloist with the university’s orchestra. Krasner also played bass guitar with the Stetson University Big Band throughout his college career.
Graduating with a Bachelor of Music degree in classical guitar performance from Stetson’s School of Music, Clay spent his first few post-college years playing bass at Disney World’s EPCOT Center and at clubs throughout the southeastern U.S. with various rock, jazz and country bands. While at EPCOT, Krasner worked with the All-American College Orchestra, performing with artists such as Rosemary Clooney, Michael Feinstein, Maureen McGovern and Bill Conti and several others.
Placing a more intense focus on theory and electric bass, Krasner began studying with world-renowned bassist Dave LaRue (Dixie Dregs, Steve Morse Band, Flying Colors), while teaching many of his own students at the Stetson University Community School of the Arts as well as the Florida State Conservatory of Music in Orlando. This season eventually came to a close and Krasner moved to Nashville, Tennessee in January 1997.
Hired by respected guitarist Lee Roy Parnell not long after his move to Nashville, Clay began touring full-time playing bass and singing background vocals in Parnell’s band, The Hot Links, ultimately adding the role of tour manager for the last couple years of his 3-1/2 year tenure with LRP.
Krasner began touring with Chely Wright in early 2002 and immediately went on a two-week tour performing for U.S. troops at military bases in Japan and Korea. Continuing with Wright, Clay ended up in Korea once again performing a landmark gig for U.S. troops in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Korean Armistice. Amidst a regular domestic and international touring schedule which took the band throughout the US, Canada, Europe and Asia, Clay also traveled with Chely Wright to the Middle East to entertain troops two times in Kuwait and Iraq and once in Afghanistan in continued support of the U.S. military. In addition to his role as bassist and bandleader during his 5 years with Chely’s group, Clay served half of that time as tour manager as well.
Krasner served as bassist and musical director for Brian Littrell, a member of the best-selling pop group The Backstreet Boys, as Brian toured to support his solo album Welcome Home. Clay’s path then took a slight departure as he temporarily relocated to Branson, Missouri and spent a season as bassist and musical director for a brand new show called America’s Favorite Finalists, which featured six former top 12 finalists from the first six seasons of the hit TV show American Idol.
Over the course of the last 18+ years, Clay has also done touring stints with Little Big Town, Rodney Atkins, Ashley Monroe, Ty Herndon, Julie Roberts, Billy Dean, Jamie O’Neal and Due West, among many others, while continuing to play bass on recording sessions in studios around Nashville and doing bass tracks for clients out of his home studio.
Currently, Clay can be seen touring with platinum selling country artist and Grand Ole Opry member Terri Clark. Residing in the Nashville area, Krasner maintains a busy schedule with touring and recording sessions, producing independent artists alongside his wife RyLee Madison under their moniker 7-17 Music, and spending as much time as possible with RyLee and their dogs Oskar and Emmy. Clay Krasner proudly endorses DR strings, Planet Waves cables and accessories and Teegarden Audio’s Fatboy Tube DI.