4 Songs

EDITORS’ NOTES

Precocious young guitarist Gary Clark Jr. graduated from Austin’s venerable juke joint circuit with the release of the Bright Lights EP, a tantalizingly brief four-track release for Warner Brothers that matches two hard charging, muscular blues rock workouts with a pair of understated acoustic recordings. Before the Bright Lights release Clark was best known for his star turn as an itinerant bluesman in John Sayle’s 2007 film Honeydripper, an imaginative reconstruction of the moment when Texas blues was transformed by the introduction of the electric guitar. Clark effectively channels the spirit of Honeydripper’s post-war blues milieu on Bright Lights’ title track, which devilishly borrows the central refrain of Jimmy Reed’s “Bright Lights, Big City” and yokes it to a crushingly distorted guitar riff that could easily have been conceived by latter day punk-blues darlings like Jack White or Dan Auerbach. It is Clark’s repeatedly demonstrated ability to effortlessly execute such unaffected fusions of contemporary influences and classic blues tropes that makes Bright Lights such a compelling listen.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Precocious young guitarist Gary Clark Jr. graduated from Austin’s venerable juke joint circuit with the release of the Bright Lights EP, a tantalizingly brief four-track release for Warner Brothers that matches two hard charging, muscular blues rock workouts with a pair of understated acoustic recordings. Before the Bright Lights release Clark was best known for his star turn as an itinerant bluesman in John Sayle’s 2007 film Honeydripper, an imaginative reconstruction of the moment when Texas blues was transformed by the introduction of the electric guitar. Clark effectively channels the spirit of Honeydripper’s post-war blues milieu on Bright Lights’ title track, which devilishly borrows the central refrain of Jimmy Reed’s “Bright Lights, Big City” and yokes it to a crushingly distorted guitar riff that could easily have been conceived by latter day punk-blues darlings like Jack White or Dan Auerbach. It is Clark’s repeatedly demonstrated ability to effortlessly execute such unaffected fusions of contemporary influences and classic blues tropes that makes Bright Lights such a compelling listen.

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About Gary Clark Jr.

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 Clifford Antone, promoter and owner of Antone's, the city's premier blues club, who began featuring Clark at his venue. An amazing live performer, Clark soon became one of the brightest players on Austin's blues and rock scene. He released an independent album, 2005's Tribute, followed by a pair of self-produced albums in 2008 for Hotwire Unlimited, 110 and Worry No More. An EP, Gary Clark, Jr., also appeared from Hotwire in 2010.

But Clark was far from just a one-trick pony guitar gunslinger. He could also sing, write, and arrange. He wrote the original score for the film Full Count and also appeared as an actor in John Sayles' 2007 film Honeydripper. In 2010, Clark was selected by Eric Clapton to perform at the Crossroads Guitar Festival, and a DVD of the show featuring Clark led to a recording deal with Warner Bros. Clark was soon in the studio working on his major-label debut. An EP called Bright Lights was released in 2011 in advance of the new album, Blak and Blu, which appeared in the fall of 2012. His next release was the impressive two-disc Live, recorded during an 18-month-long tour behind Blak and Blu, and Live better represented Clark's wild, impassioned, and often elegantly graceful live sets. After more touring, including dates opening for the Rolling Stones and the Foo Fighters, Clark released his second major-label studio set, 2015's The Story of Sonny Boy Slim. The album debuted at eight on the Billboard charts and Clark supported it with an extensive tour that was documented on the 2017 album Live North America 2016. ~ Steve Leggett

  • ORIGIN
    Austin, TX
  • BORN
    Feb 15, 1984

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