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"Fall"ing Into Love Inspires Clay Walker

Of the Oakland Press

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Country singer Clay Walker will certainly give it his all when he closes the DTE Energy Music Theatre’s 2007 season tonight. But do forgive him if he seems a bit distracted.

In two weeks, on Sept. 28, Walker is getting married — to model Jessica Craig, who’s his co-star in the video for his next single, and the title track to his latest album, “Fall.”

“I’m so excited; I couldn’t have found a better girl,” says Walker, 38, who has two young daughters with his first wife, Lori. “For years, I sang about finding that fairy tale love, then when it finally happens to you, it’s kind of a surprise and startling at the same time — but very peaceful.”

But Walker figured he might be testing the relationship a bit during the video shoot, which was to take place earlier this week. After considering tropical locales such as Hawaii and the Bahamas, he and his director decided instead to make it near Silver Springs Falls in Portland, Ore., which they felt would also bring an autumnal setting that could play off of “Fall’s” title.

“It’s really earthy there, and the terrain is awesome,” Walker says. “Although after we get into that cold waterfall, (Craig) will probably be looking at me going, ‘Bahamas, Portland, lemme see ... ’ ”

Walker, who suffers from but manages multiple sclerosis, mined his relationship with Craig for many of the songs on “Fall,” which is his highest charting album ever on the Billboard 200 survey, at No. 15. But there are also songs inspired by his divorce — including “I Hate Nights Like This,” which closes “Fall” on a note that’s doesn’t quite reflect Walker’s current state of mind.

“That was a very, very deep, dark moment in my life,” he remembers. “I was in a bad relationship that was getting worse and worse. I didn’t know how this life was gonna turn out at that point, and I was sitting there thinking, ‘How can I be in a night this beautiful and feel this bad?’

“There’s no way I could write that song today, ’cause I don’t even remember what it felt like. Looking back, it probably should’ve been the first song on the album.”

Clay Walker and Liz Carlisle perform at 7:30 Friday (Sept. 14)at the DTE Energy Music Theatre, Sashabaw Road east of I-75, Independence Township. Tickets are $34.50 pavilion, $10 lawn. Call (248) 377-0100 or visit www. palacenet.com.

Web Site: www.palacenet.com

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