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Missing the good ol’ days of true rock ‘n’ roll? Well, Gary Clark Jr is bringing rock ‘n’ roll back in style with his anticipated full-length album, Blak and Blu. Clark has been called: “The Next Hendrix”, and I will let you know that it looks like Clark’s the real deal. On this album, he definitely showcases what he can do with a 6-string and that soulful voice of his.
The opening track Ain’t Messin’ Round, a funky-upbeat-motown number, makes you want to jump up and down and do a James Brown move. Complete with a brass section and a slick guitar solo, it’s a great song to kick off this album. The next track, When My Train Pulls In, is a true, bluesy-rock track that’ll transport you back to record days. Clark’s signature fuzzy guitar and perfectly controlled vocals stand out in this song and you start to unconsciously fall in love with all things Gary Clark Jr.
Enough with the bluesy, rock ‘n’ roll. Let’s dive into the soul side of things. Number 3 on this album is Blak and Blu. On this track, he shows off his ability to navigate the waters of soul and R&B, with definitive influences of Musiq Soulchild, D’Angelo and Dwele. The Life, again, sees Clark singing a great R&B tune. And if radio decides to start playing this song, it’ll be one of the few songs on the radio that is actually worth listening to.
Back to the sweet sounds of vintage rock ‘n roll…if you’re a fan of Gary Clark Jr. or this genre, you don’t want to miss: Bright Lights; Travis Country (Think ‘Nut Bush City Limits’ with a little ‘Route 66' – If you’re wondering about the perfect road-tripping track, look no further); and:
Numb. This track needs its own little rant on how amazing it is. It reminds me a little (a lot!) of Hendrix’s material. That thick-fuzzy guitar tone is just heavenly. Clark has come up with a great riff for this track, and if you play it over and over again, it gets so good that you might start hallucinating about the early 70s and Woodstock.
Finally, the slickest, most-beautiful, old-school-like track you’ll hear this year is the final song, Next Door Neighbor Blues. The title makes you wonder what his neighbours are like, because whatever they did that made him pen down this great tune and put it in this album, worked. It’s a great finish to this album. It begins with an intriguing knocking sound, and is then accompanied by a vintage resonator, played just like the old blues men used to play them. 3 minutes and 1 second later, you’ll be systematically knocking your heels on the ground and left wanting more of Clark’s slick, bluesy resonator melodies.
If you’re all things fuzzy, loud, blues and rock ‘n’ roll, Blak and Blu is your go-to album. Gary Clark Jr. proves that he is versatile. He is also able to bring modern influences to the rock ‘n’ roll sound, presenting the style in a way that is respectful to the rock ‘n’ roll genre, but also in a way that captures the ears of the new generation. Black and Blu is reminiscent of the true blues and rock ‘n’ roll days and is definitely worth a listen to.