7 Aug 11
The Where’s Eric! Team became instant admirers of Gary Clark, Jr. when we first saw him perform at Eric Clapton’s 2010 Crossroads Guitar Festival. Funky, hip, and badass are all adjectives that come to mind. Think Frosty-era Albert Collins. In the last issue of the magazine, our editorial staff named him "One To Watch". On 9 August, Gary’s major label debut, The Bright Lights, will be released by Warner Brothers Records. It seems Rolling Stone agrees with us. In their latest issue (18 August), they give the EP 4 Stars.
The title track, "Bright Lights," was produced by Rob Cavallo (Green Day, Dave Matthews Band) while the remaining tracks were produced by Gary Clark Jr. Joining Gary on these recordings are band members J.J. Johnson on drums and percussion, Scott Nelson on bass and Eric Zapata on guitars. Gary’s full-length album is expected in early 2012.
Gary was weaned on John Lee Hooker, Lightnin Hopkins, and T-Bone Walker, Clark fuses his deep blues influence with a love of classic hip-hop and contemporary soul. His voice weaves between a melodic lilt and a seasoned blues howl with his guitar licks dancing and dodging between and behind the beat as if the essence of Snoop and Dre loom in his head by way of the Mississippi Delta. The virtuosity Clark displays, and the tone he rings from his cherry-red Epiphone Casino guitar, put most modern rock shredders to shame.
Born and raised in Austin, Gary began playing guitar at age 12. He performed small gigs throughout his early teens before popping up on the radar of legendary promoter Clifford Antone, owner of Austin blues club Antone’s. Through Clifford’s connections, he was soon sitting in with and learning from an array of musical icons, including Jimmie Vaughan. Vaughan, and others in the Austin music community, mentored Gary along his path, facilitating his steady rise on the Texas music scene. His peers have showered him with acclaim for his galvanizing live performances. In 2001, Austin’s mayor, Kirk Watson, declared May 3rd to be “Gary Clark Jr. Day.” He was 17.
He went on to win the Austin Music Award for Best Blues and Electric Guitarist on three separate occasions, in addition to receiving awards from various blues magazines and associations around the country. After playing the nationally televised show Austin City Limits and touring with such artists as Jimmie Vaughan, Pinetop Perkins, and Doyle Bramhall II, Gary released two self-produced albums, and composed the original score for the film Full Count. His creative versatility and love for not just blues, but also soul, hip-hop, classic rock, and jam bands, has allowed him to transcend his own musical talents.
In 2010, Gary was the only young newcomer to be selected by Eric Clapton to perform at the Crossroads Guitar Festival, where he performed with Doyle Bramhall II and Sheryl Crow. A DVD of the show, released last November, led to his signing with Warner Brothers Records. His singular talent has also attracted a bevy of artist support, including accolades from Sheryl Crow, Citizen Cope, Damian Marley, Ron Wood, and Questlove. As the latter Tweeted after witnessing a December performance at New York’s Brooklyn Bowl: “I don’t think y’all understand the greatness that is in front of you. Gary Clark Jr. is kickin’ ass and takin’ names.”
Gary Clark Jr.: The Bright Lights EP Track List:
01. Bright Lights
02. Don’t Owe You A Thang
03. Things Are Changin’ (solo acoustic live)
04. When My Train Pulls In (solo acoustic live)
Get an advance listen to "Bright Lights" and "Don’t Owe You A Thang" at www.garyclarkjr.com.
Gary is on tour now with more dates to be added soon. Here’s his upcoming dates:
8/07 Montauk, NY Surf Lodge
8/12 Morrison, CO Red Rocks Amphitheatre (w/ Jon Butler Trio)
8/13 Truro, Nova Scotia Dutch Mason Blues Festival / Truro Raceway
8/14 Fredericton, New Brunswick The Capital Complex
8/15 Montreal, QC Divan Orange
8/17 Quebec City, QC La Casbah
8/18 Gravenhurst, ON Peters Place Live
8/19 Toronto, ON Rivoli
8/20 Pittsburgh, PA Hard Rock Café
8/22 Evanston, IL SPACE
8/23 Detroit, MI Magic Bag
8/25 Amagansett, NY The Stephen Talkhouse
8/27 Wantagh, NY Jones Beach Theater (w/ B.B. King, Buddy Guy & J. Geils)
8/28 Holmdel, NJ PNC Bank Arts Center (w/ B.B. King & Buddy Guy)
9/03 Mohawk, NY Gelston Castle Estate
9/16 Austin, TX Austin City Limits Festival (BMI Stage)