Gary Clark Jr.: Blak and Blu
Gary Clark Jr. has been dazzling live audiences for years, so it’s a wonder that it took this long to see his major label debut album. The blues guitar virtuoso’s time has finally come though and the 15 tracks on the deluxe version of his new album, Blak and Blu, give audiences a glimpse at what all the talk is about. The songs weave aspects of rock, blues, soul, jazz, R&B, and hip hop together in an authentic way. It’s hard to miss the influence of legends such as Hendrix and fellow Austin powerhouse Stevie Ray Vaughn.
The highlights are numerous and the tracks vary from impassioned blues rock like “When My Train Pulls In” and “Third Stone from the Sun/If You Love Me Like You Say” to legit acoustic blues songs like “Next Door Neighbor Blues.” There are harder rock tracks with crossover appeal like “Bright Lights” and “Numb” as well as songs with a hip hop feel that could be radio pop hits like “The Life” and “Breakdown” (one of the two bonus tracks on the deluxe edition).
The album is a really impressive showcase of Clark’s talents and it’s not just his guttural guitar work because the songs are sung with heart. The blend of styles and flavors makes for one of the best albums of the year.