Gary Clark Jr., Blak and Blu
Released October 22 on Hotwire Unlimited
After a couple obscure records released half a decade ago and countless live EPs, Austin TX’s Gary Clark Jr. has finally released this mother of an album. And it’s about damn time. Quickly garnering fame as the ‘savior of blues’, Gary Clark Jr. has created a masterpiece swimming with blues, rock, and soul. In every sense of the word.
‘Ain’t Messin ‘Round’ opens the record as a killer slab of garage soul with plenty of backbeat and feeling. And don’t forget the constant theme of scorching, burning, blistering guitar solos. No, he certainly ISN’T messing around. From there on he takes you on a rollicking blues journey, from the beginnings of rock ‘n roll in the 40s up to the modern and polished R&B of today. Check out ‘The Life’ and ‘Blak and Blu’, both of which find Gary doing his best John Legend over a grooving beat and fresh horn samples. He’s got more up his sleeve though: check out his flawless Lynyrd Skynyrd and Chuck Berry impressions on ‘Travis County’. There’s more in this guy’s musical arsenal than meets the ear.
Obvious album highlight ‘Bright Lights’ is a scuzzy, nasty burning blues boogie – with lyrics like “Takin’ shots, waitin’ on tomorrow / Tryin’ to fill up what’s hollow”, Clark not only sings about the blues, he lives them. And there has never been a more appealing instrumental jam than ‘If You Love Me Like You Say’.
GCJ is a truly well-rounded artist. He’s not only (obviously) mastered the guitar, but songwriting and song composition; he is the complete package. And clearly, the guy can sing. Do yourself a favor: don’t ignore this album and don’t ignore this guy. Gary Clark Jr. is rock and roll’s reckoning. When his train pulls in, you better get aboard.
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