HOUSTON - As we all watch the Academy of Country Music Awards tonight, so will singer Clay Walker. He’ll be performing at the awards show after-party in Las Vegas.

I spoke with him last week about his musical Texas roots. "Oh, this this cool," said Walker as we walked inside one of his favorite places in Houston, the legendary Sugar Hill Studios.

"Looking at this wall, you see all the happiness that happened in this studio," he said. Walker himself has recorded songs there. 

The singer was in town promoting his "Band Against MS Bike Ride", which took place last weekend.

But on this day, we talked music and some of the songs that influenced him, as a young kid growing up in Beaumont. 

"Yeah, Lionel Richie was a big influence. Growing up I listened to Lionel Richie, and George Strait, great music. Heck, even ZZ Top.” Walker said.

Even with a banged-up thumb (a ranch injury), he couldn’t avoid playing piano or guitar in the studios.

He even tried to teach me some chords.

"I don't think you're gonna be playing the Rodeo any time soon, but TV is great for you, you wear it well," he told me.

Clay Walker is coming out with a new album this year, but for now, he’s looking forward to the ACM AWARDS Sunday night.