Gary Clark Jr. - Blak and Blu

by Paul Bubluski
(Fall River, Massachusetts)

Gary Clark Jr is a name you’ve likely heard by now. If you’re a blues fan, it’s the name that conjures up dreams of the genres return to glory. “A young force steeped in old sounds.” He’s been called our generations chosen one.

His latest album, “Blak and Blu,” may very well be the album that delivers the blue’s back to radio airwaves nationwide, and if it weren't for the way the tracks are laid out, I may not be here to tell you that.

“Blak and Blu” enters with the albums first single, “Ain’t Messin ‘Round,” followed by a staple in Clark’s repertoire, “When My Train Pulls In.” It quickly it becomes very clear why this young bluesman is special.

Fuzzed-up guitar riffs, intricate solos, catchy lyrics and a voice that jumps from raspy to velvety at the drop of a hat seem ready to explode onto radio airwaves nationwide.

Next, the track the album derives its name from, “Blak and Blu,” glides in. A soothing, soulful tune, Clark begins to flex his range. And then it happens. A preview of whats to come. As your mind relaxes and your eyes begin to sink, “Bright Lights” and “Travis County” rip into your ears, blowing away the peaceful purr.

The blues is back. "Travis County,” an classic style blues tune about being arrested, rattles your legs, and just as your calf muscles begin to cramp up from the uncontrollable foot-stomping, "The Life" hops in and offers a massage. But don’t get too comfortable, cause Clark’s blues driven roundhouse is about to return for a one-two combo.

"Glitter Ain't Gold," followed by what may very well be the albums most intense and face-melting track, "Numb," roll in with over nine minutes of pure power. Then, like a Marvin Gaye reincarnation, "Please Come Home" glides in, followed by “Things Are Changin’,” offering up a cold towel to pat your forehead.

"You Saved Me" can be said quite literally about the track "You Saved Me," as the previous track, a broken down, growling and ferocious cover of Jimi Hendrix's "Third Stone From the Sun" blended with a foot-stomping version of Albert Collins' "If You Love Me Like You Say" threatens to send the listener into a meltdown.

As Clark's guitar rip into "You Saved Me", you start to think, "Oh no, this might put me over the edge... I don't know if I can handle this one." But, by the good graces of Clark's incredible range, soothing and soulful vocals wash in like a warm tide, providing a beautiful fallback from the mesmerizing nine and a half minutes blaze.

The iTunes Deluxe Edition ends with the R&B inspired "Breakdown" and, in a rare occurrence, a soft and soothing love song called "Soul." However, those are bonus tracks exclusive to the iTunes download.

The hard copy of the album ends on a much different note, with the most old-school, broken down, creaky rocking chair, dusty boot stomping on an old wooden porch blues song released since the genres heyday, “Next Door Neighbor Blues.” If you decide to go out and buy the CD, prepare to step out of a time machine when its all said and done.

After years of rendering audiences speechless throughout Austin, Texas, Clark has finally spread his lanky, six-foot four frame across the country with his debut, “Blak and Blu.” His long, callused fingers deliver an album which may ultimately serve as the driving force behind the reincarnation of the blues.

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About The Writer

My name is Andrew Muller. I love creative art, music, television shows, movies, video games, and a good story.

If you had to find me somewhere, you would probably find me down at O'neils home cooking eating an organic sweet-potato bun breakfast sandwich with ham.

Among my friends, it's a "Muller Classic Move" to eat Mcdonald's at 2am because it's cheap and open 24/7. The joke here is that I'm an idiot. 

I play drums, guitar, piano, and I write & perform music for My Goal Is Telepathy. Take a listen to the latest sound here.