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Blak and Blu (Deluxe Version)

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iTunes Review

Austin's Gary Clark Jr. grew up in one of the nation's most musical cities so it's no surprise just how diverse his influences are. He's drawing from a world between '60s psychedelia and hip-hop song structure. Stylistically, his major label debut offers some fuzztone-drenched blues riffs wrapped around bits of classic rock and R&B. With songs like "Numb" and "Ain't Messin 'Round", he fits more in with the blues crowd that identifies with The Black Keys than any of your Hall of Fame axe-wielders. It's precisely this element–invoking passion and stripped-down power over licks–that makes Gary Clark Jr. such a fascinating figure.

Customer Reviews


If this guy makes it big in the mainstream, my faith in the music industry will be restored. The most impressive element about this album is the diversity. It is ALL very soulful, but you've got some poppier tracks, some with clear roots in RnB, and my personal favorite, some downright dirty bluesy rock that Clark does better than anyone this side of Akron.


Not sure about the overall flow of this album. It seems like a bunch of random songs thrown together, from every spectrum of music. There's no consistency there. I love Gary Clark Jr., and I do like my share of tracks on this album, I'm just confused as to why he would, as a blues artist, make an album with so little blues influence apparent within the songs. I see more influences of R&B and Soul than blues, with exception of "Next Door Neighbor Blues". Not to say this album was a disappointment, I just wish he would focus more on blues. I would also like to have seen his version of "Catfish Blues" on here.

Dreadfully Disappointing

If you're like me, you recognize that Gary Clark, Jr. is one of the top guitarists and blues men out there. He's got a great voice and tremendous guitar chops to match. That's what makes this album so incredibly frustrating. It tries to be all things to all people, thereby losing what makes Mr. Clark so great to so many fans. I don't want to hear him try his hand (badly) at hip-hop or overproduced pop. I want "just [him] and this guitar," as he offers in his terrific song "Don't Owe You a Thang" (on his "Bright Lights" EP and NOT on this album). If that's "all [I] get," that's more than enough for me.

My suggestion is not to buy this entire album (as I did, unfortunately). Download the following four tracks: "When My Train Pulls In," "Numb," "Third Stone...," and "Next Door Neighbor Blues." Add to those the four tracks from the EP that you probably already own. (If not, buy it immediately.) Head to Mr. Clark's website and download the live cut of "Catfish Blues." Put them into a playlist, and turn it up LOUD! You'll be mighty glad that you did.


Born: February 15, 1984 in Austin, TX

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Texas guitarist Gary Clark, Jr. has been compared to guitar icons like Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan, and his playing is a powerful and inspired mix of blues, contemporary soul, and hip-hop, and when he's rolling at his best, he sounds like nothing so much as a natural hybrid of both the past and the future of the blues. Born and raised in Austin, Texas, Clark first picked up a guitar at the age of 12 and spent his teens playing whatever gig he could get in the Austin area. He eventually met...
Full Bio