Gary Clark Jr....Rolling Stone's Chosen One

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Gary Clark's new CD is the one hardcore fans have been waiting for. Released 23 September 2014, Live is a double CD of blues tracks taped during his 2013 -14 tour. Clark's studio CDs often incorporate elements of hip-hop and neo-soul. Given Clark is thirty years old and grew up with these styles of music it seems natural they be woven into his signature vision of the blues. But for the purist it can be off-putting. Black and Blu was reviewed on this site as uneven, noting the almost uncomfortable lilt these shifts in style produced.   

 

An Austin resident, born and raised, Clark picked up the guitar at twelve and his talent soon brought him to the attention and mentorship of Clifford Antone. During a short life, Antone who died at 57 in 2006, established himself as the father of the Austin music scene through his renowned club, Antone's and his self-named indi recording studio. Antone started his club in 1974 when he was only 25. When Antone died, Austin mayor, Will Wynn stated, "One of the primary reasons Austin is known as the Live Music Capital of the World is because of Clifford Antone."  A blues aficionado, Antone brought all the major and lessor blues acts to his club, but he may be best known for finding and supporting Texan and, especially, hometown acts. Stevie Ray Vaughn and his brother Jimmy Vaughn (The Fabulous Thunderbirds) were early protégés and it was Antone who introduced Gary Clark to the Vaughn brothers. Clark became a regular performer at Antone's and was soon guesting his stellar guitar skills with numerous prominent blues and rock stars: The Rolling Stones, B.B. King, Dr. John, Eric Clapton, Buddy Guy, Steve Winwood, Dave Matthews, John Mayer, Janelle Monáe,Alicia Keys, Sheryl Crow, Jeff Beck, and ZZ Top, to name but a few.

Guitarman Sets New Direction

So in spite of all the accolades, Grammys and blues awards too numerous to list (Austin declared May 3, 2001 Gary Clark Jr Day; he was only 17 at the time), Clark is best known for his amazing, inventive and searing guitar. What better showcase than a live blues recording where he can stretch out and improvise with a familiar, incredible tight backing band. This isn't Clark's first live recording (he put out an Itunes Session in 2013 and has several EPs which include live performances) but it is his most complete set, covering not only self-penned favourites from his studio releases, like “Travis County” and “When My Train Pulls In,” but a number of carefully chosen and tasty covers including “Catfish Blues,”Lowell Fulson's “Three O'Clock Blues”and Albert Collins' “If Trouble Was Money” as well as  Hendrix's “Third Stone From The Sun.”

For anyone who wants to see the future direction of the blues, or for old-time fanatics of electrified Chicago and Texas styles, this is a CD for you.

HM

Gary Clark Jr. - Catfish Blues (Live at Farm Aid 2014)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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