Delbert McClinton says as a young child in 1940's and 50's Texas, he knew music was going to be a huge part of his life. After six decades on the road and multiple Grammy awards to his credit, he says he's lived his dream. That dream nearly ended two years ago when McClinton underwent triple bypass surgery.
"It brought me real close to my mortality, and I'm not through yet, so there's a lot of things I need to change."
Doctors called his health scare a "heart incident" rather than a heart attack. McClinton says he's seeing his lifestyle changes reflect his music.
"I'm singing better than I have in years ... I think it's because I want it more than ever."
It's not just his own music he has to live for now, either. McClinton chuckled recalling the time his then 17 year old son Clay phoned him after listening to music.
"He called me up one day and asked 'Dad, have you heard of this guy Jimi Hendrix?"
McClinton says his son is creating his own sound, and is careful when it comes to mentoring.
"I don't like to give advice, anybody looking for advice is looking for an accomplice, and I'm not interested in that."
From late nights listening to the radio as a kid to his day-to-day life now, McClinton says after family, music is still the most important thing in his life.
"A lot of things around it have changed, but the music still has the same impact on me as it did then. It’s what keeps me going."