Gary Clark Jr.: Blak and Blu

Gary Clark Jr.
Blak and Blu
(Warner Bros.)

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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.

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About Tim Needles

Tim Needles is an artist, photographer, humorist, and writer from Long Island, NY. His writing and art work has been seen in multiple exhibitions and publications around New York as well as the Photographer’s Forum, French Photo, the New York Times, and LI Pulse magazine. He is also an educator and currently teaches art and film at Smithtown, NY and as an Education Leader for Adobe. He was recently the recipient of the Robert Rauschenberg Award in Washington DC and serves as the director of Strictly Students, a non-for-profit group for media and education. His work can be seen on his website: www.timneedles.com
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