Austin-based singer, songwriter, and guitarist extraordinaire Gary Clark Jr. doesn’t just imbibe the blues, he appears to have the knack for absorbing the heart and — most importantly — the soul of the blues as well. Highly-anticipated full length debut Blak and Blu (October 23, Warner Brothers) is equal parts black and blue, an innately gifted modern funk proprietor who just happens to be a riveting and incendiary blues/rock guitar slinger to boot.
It’s fitting that he chose Jimi Hendrix for his inspired mashup “Third Stone From the Sun/If You Love Me Like You Say” as the groundbreaking icon inhabits the same revolutionary mindset: utilizing the blues as a touchstone for his own bruising,genre-decimating style. Clark co-produced the album with studio heavyweights Mike Elizondo (Dr. Dre, Mastodon, Fiona Apple), Rob Cavallo (Green Day, My Chemical Romance) and helps keep the canvas smudged, gritty and mostly stripped clean of production gloss. The blistering, nearly eight minute “When My Train Pulls In” is one of B’n'B’s best – heavy and nimble simultaneously, densely packed with rumbling bass and Clark’s fuzzed out guitar.
And don’t neglect “Bright Lights”, a near-perfect example of Clark’s ability to draw out a song from its blues core and morph it into a monstrous rocker replete with a soulful half-stepped rhythm and a slamming backbeat.
Watch” Bright Lights” live
You can stream the entire album Blak and Blu here: