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Sam’s Burger Joint promoter Jerry Clayworth has left the club, citing aesthetic and financial differences. Clayworth has a long history with the East Grayson site, booking shows there in the mid-’90s when it was known as Billy Blues. When Sam’s ownership brought him in to handle promotions at the club two years ago, the venue was primarily associated with punk and indie-rock, and Clayworth says he was asked to attract a “more mature crowd.”

He complied by booking rootsy icons such as Guitar Shorty, Davey Allen and the Arrows, and Wanda Jackson, but he says the club’s owners soon grew disenchanted with his approach. Clayworth says the final straw came when he was told he’d be taken off salary and simply paid a “little tiny percentage” for each of his bookings at Sam’s.

Mo Canales, general manager for Sam’s, says Clayworth is a “great guy” who brought good gigs to the club, but adds that Clayworth “was supposed to push the club, but he just pushed his own shows. We just felt we had to part ways.”

Clayworth is currently hoping to open a new venue with a couple of friends, and says the new locale doesn’t necessarily have to be large, “but it has to have soul.”

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