Album Review of Live by Gary Clark, Jr..
Release Date: Sep 23, 2014
Record label: Warner Bros.
Genre(s): Blues, Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Blues-Rock, Electric Blues, Regional Blues, Contemporary Blues, Texas Blues, Modern Electric Texas Blues, Electric Texas Blues
Over the years I’ve found myself defending bands who cover classic blues, ranging from the good (Yardbirds, Animals), to the occasionally good (Rolling Stones, Beatles), to the occasionally great (Led Zeppelin), to… Eric Clapton. One thing I tend to repeat, without cynicism: Even the most earnest if unconvincing renditions are worthwhile if they serve as a gateway to the source material. If, for instance, someone hears Jack White doing an overly stylized cover of Son House or the Black Keys doing remarkable service to the still-unjustly-unheralded Junior Kimbrough, or even the aforementioned Mick Jagger mumbling Mississippi Fred McDowell, it’s all to the greater good.
For most rock acts, the live double album is breathing space between studio shots. This rising Texan’s two-CD set is his defining moment, a generous blast of prowess that backs up the future-of-blues-guitar promises made in Gary Clark Jr.’s name since his bust-out performance at Eric Clapton’s 2010 Crossroads festival. Clark’s 2012 major-label splash, Blak and Blu, was vigorously uneven, betraying his impatience to plug the emotional dynamics of electric blues into contemporary R&B.
Texas guitar ace Gary Clark, Jr. , who at his best sounds like nothing so much as the past and the future of the blues, has been compared to guitar icons like Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan. His playing is a powerful and inspired mix of blues roots with some contemporary soul and hip-hop touches, but it remains the blues always, and the blues is perhaps even more central to his sound than it was for either Hendrix or Vaughan.
Gary Clark Jr. Live (Warner Bros.) An argument could be made that blues, especially the post-Stevie Ray Vaughan/every-guitar-solo-for-itself variety, has been plowed to dust. Not for Gary Clark Jr. Utilizing his best material from squeaky clean debut LP Blak and Blu, the guitarist plows fertile soil where it does the most good: live onstage.
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