Gary Clark Jr: Blak and Blu – review

(Hotwire Unlimited)

Playing "nasty, sloppy, chunky, wailing" guitar is Gary Clark Jr's self-described thing, and it's reaped the young Texas bluesman a coterie of celebrity fans. The renowned rock critic Barack Obama has even declared Clark to be "the future", which he could be, in as much as he's trying to persuade Generation Y that there's more to blues-rock than they've experienced via the likes of the Black Keys. A particularly modern artisan, he recognises the need to diversify, so while blues remains his core skill, he's also fluent in neo-soul, R&B and psychedelia, all of it garnished by attractively leathery vocals. A cover of Hendrix's Third Stone from the Sun, which glides into Little Johnny Taylor's If You Love Me Like You Say, establishes that he's capable of rattling the synapses with an eye-wateringly fuzzy version of the former, and getting deeply, bluesily sleazy with the latter (though the turntable-scratching toward the end is a weird touch). His own tunes range all over the place – Travis County is breathless garage-rock, The Life a debonair, Ne-Yo-like homage to idleness – but the quality is uniformly high.


Caroline Sullivan

The GuardianTramp

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