Gary Clark Jr. "Blak and Blu" Album Review — 5 out of 5 stars
Wed, 31 Oct 2012 09:58:28
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Gary Clark, Jr. has accomplished the impossible with Blak and Blu.
He's made the perfect debut album. It's indisputably impressive, merging together his own brand of Austin blues, soul, and rock into something truly transcendent. Blak and Blu will be remembered alongside the likes of Jimi Hendrix's Are You Experienced?, Led Zeppelin I, Nirvana's Bleach, and Stevie Ray Vaughan's Texas Flood.
"Ain't Messin 'Round" busts open the door with a swaggering, swinging riff, effusive horns, and a gospel-style refrain. Its bombastic nature proves a propos announcing the arrival of the 21st century's first guitar god. "When My Train Pulls In" is where Gary's virtuosity shines, stretching past the six-minute mark with an utterly mind-blowing solo. "The Life" tells a cinematic little tale with a hip hop bounce and one of the record's biggest and best hooks. A revved up guitar weaves through the opening of the staggering "Travis County", creating a true road anthem. "Glitter Ain't Gold (Jumpin' For Nothin')" slides between a metallic wall and bluesy shredding as our hero admits, "They told me that I needed salvation, but who are we to lean on?"
Hearing album standout "Things Are Changin'", it's clear that we can lean on him. The track slides from a wah-ed out intro into the most pensive, poetic, and powerful lyrics of the set. Of course, his six-string-ing matches it. Think Southern blues transmuted through the heart of Motown and you'll see where he's going…
A big drum beat kicks off "Next Door Neighbor Blues" which rises from the delta into the pantheon of blues classics. It's been a long time since somebody came out of the gate with a record this timeless. The best part is Blak and Blu [iTunes link] is only the beginning for Gary Clark, Jr.
Have you heard Blak and Blu? Check out the album listening session, while available: