Texas bluesman Gary Clark Jr has already been around for years and has little to prove – Barack Obama declared him to be "the future" when he played at the White House and the press has already compared him with Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan. His major label debut finds him mixing styles from the urban title track and stoner's lament The Life to staight rock'n'roller Travis County and sweet ballads such as Please Come Home. His guitar and voice are at their best on the likes of opening Stax stomper Ain't Messin' 'Round and the heavy soul of When My Train Pulls In, Numb, and the funky Bright Lights – his guitar crunchy and full in a way you only get with good amps and pedals. He's more Lenny Kravitz than Robert Cray and mercifully closer to the Black Keys than either. The 10-minute double cover of Jimi Hendrix's Third Stone from the Sun and Little Johnny Taylor's If You Love Me Like You Say works surprisingly well; I like the Johnny Winter-esque closing acoustic bottleneck number Next Door Neighbor Blues.
Blak and Blu by Gary Clark Jr – review
Molloy Woodcraft is a subeditor for the Guardian