Words by Steve Melone

The most important release in modern blues music has arrived. Gary Clark Jr. Live, is not just an album for those with a love for the blues, but those who enjoy musical honesty and soul, bleeding through the speakers (preferably at a very loud volume).

When you think of modern day blues musicians, artists like Derek Trucks, Jonny Lang and The Black Keys are likely to cross your mind. Clark either out sings, out plays or out writes them all. Rolling Stone called him ‘The Chosen One,’ and Buddy Guy says he could be the savior when it comes to blues music today. Those are some pretty heavy expectations from high places that need some consideration when hearing this record.

Indigenous to Austin, Texas, Clark has played with musical icons Eric Clapton, John Mayer, Jimmie Vaughan and The Rolling Stones in recent years. Few rival his guitar playing today, and his soul speaks for his hands and mouth, as it should any great blues artist on the stage. Clark plays with a distorted, ‘Texas twang’ as he calls it and holds nothing back when he performs. He plays straight and true, authentic blues.

You can hear the influences of Jimi Hendrix, T-Bone Walker, Elmore James, Stevie Ray Vaughan and many others in his music. It’s hard not to think of the original blues men like Muddy Waters, B.B. King, Freddie King, and Howlin’ Wolf when you hear his sound in this live masterpiece.

His previous 2012 release, “Blak and Blu” was criticized as being over-produced by some, even though it won the Grammy for best traditional R&B performance. But it’s no surprise. Like fireworks, the blues are just better live, and Gary Clark Jr. proves it here for listeners.

“Gary Clark Jr. Live,” covers a fifteen-song set saturated by soul spilling performances. “Bright Lights,” “Travis County,” and “Please Come Home” are just some of the great original tracks on the album. “When My Train Pulls In,” is one of Clark’s most recognizable tracks that can be mistaken for a song decades older. “Ain’t Messin’ Round” Is another retro original, showing resemblances to Jimi Hendrix.

Like any great blues musician, Clark covers other classics, such as Robert Petway’s “Catfish Blues,” Hendrix’s “Third Stone From The Sun,” Lowell Fulson’s “Three O’Clock Blues,” as well as Albert Collin’s “If Trouble Was Money,” and “If You Love Me Like You Say.”

Do yourself a favor and pick this album up on CD, double vinyl or digital download. It’s well worth the money and could only do you, your ears and soul good in the long run.

Gary Clark Jr.
Warner Bros
© September 23rd, 2014



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