Setting The Record Straight

The blues are as old as time.  If you feel it, play it.  Make sure you put some soul into it.  Break your back all day working a job you hate and sing a song about it.  Break the heart of a lady who meant more the evening before and sing a song about it.  Keep it raspy and keep it real.  The blues are as American as the men and women who’ve perfected it for the past hundred years.

Austin’s Gary Clark Jr. is that rare blues man with his finger firmly pressed on the pulse of the world around him.  His nights are long and his days may have been cluttered with moments both fleeting and pleasing, but the pulse he measures is one that beats in the here and now.  Sure he’s a blues player, and a wildly skilled one at that, but his heart beats soul.  And funk.  And a few oddly balanced flutters of hip hop.  The fuzz is loud, the riffs are massive and his Warner Brothers full length debut, Blak And Blu, is a powerhouse, but it’s the experimental carefree nature of his artistry that sets Clark Jr. apart from his contemporaries.

Clark Jr. has been gigging, touring and crushing the festival circuit for a few years.  His earlier EP’s and recordings are solid, but often left me scratching my head because there isn’t a lane built for him.  The proof is Blak And Blu, a record cluttered with dense brilliance.  Whether he’s charging straight ahead on the raucous “When My Train Pulls In” or crooning like a 60’s soul man on “Please Come Home”, it’s straight from the gut, commendable in a day and age when major label records are meant to place on the billboard charts.  Blak And Blu comes on strong and finishes just the same.  Just press play.


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