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Clay Fulton & The Lost Forty have found some new music

Rochester singer-songwriter ready to release second album with his band on Aug. 12.

Clay Fulton and the Lost 40
Clay Fulton & The Lost Forty performs.
Contributed / Danni Trester
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Clay Fulton & The Lost Forty have found their way to a sophomore album that seems to walk a tightrope between past regrets and hopeful yearning.

The record, featuring the songwriting and dusty vocals of front man and Rochesterite Clay Fulton, is called “Positive Numbers” and is being released on Aug. 12.

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The recording for the new tunes got underway at Rochester’s own Carpet Booth Studios in February earlier this year, but most of the seven songs were written the previous year.

“I wrote the songs myself and got them to a point where they were as far as I could take them,” says Fulton, “then I brought them to the band at rehearsals. The group members put their individual spin on the tunes, and that's where they really took shape.”

Besides Fulton’s vocals and guitar work, the personnel for the band includes Allan Palmer (bass), Peter Laack (keyboard and piano), Carly Hornstine (vocals), Nick Novotny (drums and percussion), and Mike Bentele (lead guitar).


Fulton describes the group’s sound as “roots rock.” The first single from the record “Little by Little” includes a catchy instrumental hook and some memorable similes like the line “spend my money like a hurricane.” It also develops dynamic variations and really features a cohesive ensemble sound that allows every member to shine.

The album’s title track begins with some quick acoustic riffs and builds to a rocking crescendo that disintegrates into chaotic noise resolving into a grand recapitulation of the melodic theme and the song ends with some nice interlacing of Fulton’s voice with Hornstine singing in counterpoint.

In part, the song seems to suggest the power of music to overcome personal struggles. Fulton sings, “When I step out there, guitar in my hand, got my finger on the trigger, and a list of demands.”

Another standout track on the record, and a little bit of a departure from some of the more rocking songs, is the plaintive “For the Road.” It has some beautiful harmony singing and a simpleness that underlines a desire to express the possibility of traveling past loss.

Clay Fulton and the Lost 40
Clay Fulton, of Clay Fulton & The Lost Forty, performs.
Contributed / Danni Trester

Steeped in beer and smokes, as an album, “Positive Numbers” rocks out at times with Bentele’s soaring guitar solos on songs like “Back to Bruges,” but also looks more inward when Fulton’s lyrics touch on overcoming past failures.

As Fulton puts it in “Best Years,” “Hate to think the best of my years were all spent on booze and tears” and later finishes the sentiment with a reversal: “Somehow, I got up … the best of my years just started with no doubt.”

The album was mastered by Alec Ness and engineered and produced by Zach Zurn.

Fulton says working with Zurn on a second album at Carpet Booth felt like being back home. “I feel like Zach really understands me as a songwriter, and he has a special talent for getting great performances out of whoever is in the booth,” he says.


For the band’s first record, the 2021 “When Trouble Comes,” Fulton says he came to the project with more of a “solo singer-songwriter” mindset.

In contrast, for “Positive Numbers,” Fulton says he was writing songs with “a cast in mind” that resulted in a more “rock forward” sound.

“I learned a lot from the first recording process about my songwriting, and I just have a deeper appreciation for how much group effort goes into pulling something like this off,” he says.

Fulton says he owes thanks to Sandy and Bill Nietz, who he calls his dear friends. He credits them with helping him get his music business of the ground. “I would not be where I am without them,” he says.

Clay Fulton.jpg
Clay Fulton of Clay Fulton & The Lost Forty performs.
Contributed photo

Clay Fulton & the Lost Forty has only been playing shows together since the spring of 2021, but since then, they’ve opened for some regional heavy hitters like Charlie Parr, Them Coulee Boys, NUR-D, and The Big Wu. Their shows have included playing at festivals like the Mid West Music Fest in Winona and for concert series like the Minnesota Music Coalition’s Caravan du Nord series as well as Rochester Civic Music’s neighborhood forWARD series.

The band is looking forward to releasing their newest songs with CDs for sale at Thesis Beer Project on Aug. 12 . The show will start at 7 p.m. with a set from Jerrika Mighelle and will continue with sets from Clay Fulton & The Lost Forty, and The Immaculate Beings. The record will also be available on streaming services like Spotify, Amazon and iTunes.

Fulton hopes to put it out in vinyl next spring.

“A big part of me being happy these days is being in this band and writing songs,” says Fulton. “The chemistry in this group as musicians and humans is just amazing,” he adds “I feel so fortunate to be a part of it.”


More on Clay Fulton & The Lost Forty

  • If you’d like to learn more about Clay Fulton & The Lost Forty or buy their music, head to clayfulton.com .
  • Check out the release party for Clay Fulton & The Lost Forty’s second record “Positive Numbers” at Thesis Beer Project on Friday, Aug. 12 at 7 p.m.
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