Local Songwriter Bill Clanton Jr. Is Up to the Christmas Challenge

Dec 06, 2017
Bill Clanton Jr.

As general manager and program director of WBNJ FM (91.9), Bill Clanton Jr. knows a good song when he hears it. But he does much more than play music on the air as the radio personality is quite the multi-instrumentalist, and he is using those talents as part of a personal holiday challenge.

Recently, Clanton wrote and recorded an original song, “Never Thought of Christmas So Blue,” which is currently available on iTunes, Amazon Music, Pandora and Spotify. That inspired the musician to release a song each day up until Christmas.

He said he will record and produce each song from his recording studio located in the WBNJ offices in Barnegat Township. Some songs are original compositions while others are traditional holiday favorites. The challenge is that each song will be recorded and produced in less than 24 hours. 

“I’ve been writing and producing music since I was in high school, so this project is not only a personal challenge, but it is going to be fun,” said Clanton, a 1995 graduate of Southern Regional High School. “It was high school music teachers like Ron Poorman that inspired me to write music, and I never lost that love.”

In the studio, Clanton will be a one-man band, providing not only the vocals, but all the instrumental tracks as well.

“It takes about three to 3½ hours to complete the recording,” he said.

Clanton said he got the idea for his latest song after listening to Elvis Presley’s “Blue Christmas.” The opening lyrics are “It wasn’t long ago, that weekend in the snow, just singing carols by the firelight. But now I’m all alone, just sitting by the phone, I never thought that song would come true.”

“Blue Christmas” is one of the songs on his challenge list, along with other holiday rockers such as “Merry Christmas, Baby,” “Santa Bring My Baby Back to Me” and “Please Come Home for Christmas.”

“But I also want to record hymns and carols that reflect my Christian faith,” said Clanton, who is the worship leader at Grace Calvary Church in Ship Bottom. “That opportunity has allowed me to make songwriting a part of my faith by sharing original compositions with the congregation.”

Clanton said one song might feature his daughter Catarina.

“She’s in kindergarten, and she wants to do ’Deck the Halls’ with me,” he said.  

He said the daily song release is available on the website songadaytillchristmas.com, and listeners can check the songs out on Clanton’s Facebook page as well as his Song A Day YouTube channel.

— Eric Englund


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