Gary Clark Jr., Releases Debut Album 'Blak And Blu' On Warner Bros. Records
Widely compared to the greatest guitar icons in music history, Gary Clark Jr. pushes blues, rock, soul and guitar mastery into a whole new dimension with his debut album 'Blak and Blu' which will be released on February 25th on Warner Bros. Records. As Barack Obama stated following Clark's guest performance at the White House alongside Mick Jagger, B.B. King, Jeff Beck and Buddy Guy: "He's the future."
Produced by Clark with Mike Elizondo (Dr. Dre, B.B. King) and Warner Bros. Records chairman Rob Cavallo (Green Day, My Chemical Romance), the eclectic 'Blak and Blu' travels the musical spectrum with a variety of genre-defying spins on blues and soul. Recent single 'Bright Lights' stomps with the energy of contemporary garage-rock leaders The White Stripes and The Black Keys, while Memphis horns, Otis Redding soul and swaggering Stones attitude dominate the opener 'Ain't Messin' 'Round'.
Yet Clark can also turn down the tempo with stunning results. The album's title track looks to the future with silky vocals set to hip-hop beats, but it also respects the heritage of Clark's sound with musical excerpts of Gil Scott-Heron and Albert King. Meanwhile, 'Please Come Home' goes back to basics as his tender falsetto emphasises the emotional pull of his lyrics. The album has so far peaked at #6 in the States.
"I was really inspired all at once to do all kinds of different things," he says, citing influences as diverse as Skip James, Marvin Gaye, OutKast, The Strokes and Nirvana. "Music is movement. It all moves together, like lifetimes-a continuum. It's all part of the same fabric in the end." Such diversity can also been seen in his collaborations with Nas, Alicia Keys and The Roots, while David Lynch is another influential fan of his.
Taking up guitar at the age of twelve, Clark quickly found his way into the fertile Austin scene, and was taken under the wing of long-time club owner Clifford Antone and local stalwart Jimmie Vaughan. Antone put the youngster on stage with such blues giants as James Cotton and Hubert Sumlin. Vaughan and others taught him about moving beyond the legends, both going back to the originators who influenced them, but also embracing the spirit of innovation that separated such groundbreakers as Cream and the Stones from the crowd.
He made the most of the support and became such a shining presence that Austin declared a "Gary Clark Jr. Day" in his honour while he was still in his teens. And by 2007 he was named the city's best blues artist and rock guitarist at the Austin Music Awards. In fact, he's won those same categories every year ever since.
The buzz found its way to Eric Clapton who invited Clark to play on the 2010 Crossroads Festival in Chicago, an event showcasing the most distinctive guitar talents of a variety of genres. Clark's appearance with Doyle Bramhall II and Sheryl Crow opened a lot of ears to his talent. Clapton then took Clark along as his opening act on a tour of Brazil that autumn.