The only thing growing faster than Gary Clark Jr.’s acclaim — among fans, critics and iconic musicians alike — is the scope of his talents and tastes.
But nothing you have seen, heard or read can prepare you for the power and scope of his debut album, Blak And Blu. Not the buzz from his Run-The-House tour through the 2012 festival season which included Coachella, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, Bonnaroo, Metallica’s Orion Fest, and Lollapalooza, to Jay Z’s Made in America Festival (the only artist invited to play both nights) and continuing through the upcoming Neil Young curated Bridge School Benefit, Austin City Limits gathering and NOLA’s Voodoo Fest.
Not his collaborations, in the studio and on stage, with Nas, Alicia Keys, the Roots and Eric Clapton nor the ear-bending, cross-format embrace of his tour-de-force debut Bright Lights EP can prepare you. Even his one-to-watch appearance at the White House command performance for the Obamas alongside Mick Jagger, B.B. King, Jeff Beck and Buddy Guy — prompting the Music Fan-in-Chief to remark, “He’s the future.”
The album, produced by Mike Elizondo (whose credits are fittingly eclectic, running from Dr. Dre to Fiona Apple to Mastodon to Eric Hutchinson) with Warner Bros. Records chairman Rob Cavallo (Green Day, Dave Matthews Band, My Chemical Romance) and Clark, puts his talents and ambitions through a brilliant prism of vast possibilities. Blak And Blu is a rocket ride rushing from the Mississippi Delta of a century ago to a point somewhere ahead of the horizon, gathering up the whole of blues, rock and soul along the way.
Perhaps the most succinct summation of Clark’s musical vision and what lies ahead can be taken from a recent interview where he imparts: “Music is movement. It all moves together, like lifetimes—a continuum. It’s all part of the same fabric in the end.”