Singer, Songwriter, master guitar player, there are many labels for Gary Clark Jr. He is one of the most significant guitarists of our generation. He’s won countless awards and has shared the stage with some of the biggest names in the music industry, legends, such as Eric Clapton, BB King, and Mick Jagger. He has accomplished so much already in his musical career, and he is only 35 years old! Not to mention, he is a fellow Texas native, and this makes him even more special and perfect Man Crush Monday material.
Gary Clark Jr. was born and raised in Austin, Texas and started playing the guitar at the early age of twelve. He also loved singing and would sing in the church choir with his sisters. He soon caught the eye of local promoter and club owner Clifford Antone who owned Antone’s, an Austin music establishment. Antone started to mentor Clark Jr. and he began to play and learn from the musicians that came through Antone’s.
It wasn’t long after, Clark Jr.’s career really began to take off. His ambition and love for his craft are evident. His multi-genre musical styling is one to be admired; he fuses Blues, Soul, Rap, Hip-Hop, R&B, Rock and Roll, even Punk throughout his songs. You can’t label Gary Clark Jr. because his variety on the musical spectrum is all over the place. It makes perfect sense because he was influenced by a diverse array of musicians from Jimi Hendrix all the way to Jay-Z and The Strokes. His ability to genre-cross is what makes him so freakin good.
Released in 2012 “Blak and Blu”, was Clark Jr.’s first major-label debut and was hailed phenomenal by critics everywhere. He was also nominated for a Grammy in both Rock and R&B for this album, which was a first for an artist at the Grammys. “Bright Lights”, was one of the standout tracks from the release. It’s classic guitar riffs and bluesy lyrics are outstanding. This song was featured in films, video games, and television shows.
Not only was Clark Jr. busy in the studio working on his own releases but he was also commissioned to collaborate with fellow musicians such as Alicia Keys, Sheryl Crow, Foo Fighters, Childish Gambino, ZZ Top, and Tom Morello. His touring schedule was intense and took him all over the world. He was performing at major festivals like the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, Lollapalooza, Coachella, Glastonbury and in his hometown at Austin City Limits Festival.
Just this year, Clark Jr. released his third album on Warner Records “This Land”, which expands on his musical genius. The title track “This Land”, mixes Hip-Hop, Rock and gritty honest lyrics. Taken from personal experiences living in Central Texas and the struggles the minority community still encounter; he gives an inside look at how we haven’t come very far when dealing with racial tensions and stereotypes. “Gotta Get into Something”, is very Ramones-esque. The beginning guitar solo gives you the fun-loving punk feel and that vibe doesn’t let up for the entire track. “Guitar Man”, has a soulful R&B quality to it and is reminiscent of the 70s soul songs. The way he can switch genres from track to track is brilliant. This album takes you on a roller-coaster ride of styles, but everything fits perfectly.
Gary Clark Jr. is one of a kind. The first time I’d heard of him, he played a private performance at the radio station where I used to work in Houston. I remember standing in the back of the room and listening to him and chills going down my spine. He was outstanding and I couldn’t believe what I was hearing; how lucky I was to experience this in a room of around 30 people! I’ve been a fan ever since. I have seen him several times over the years and have been impressed by his shows every single time.
I’ll definitely be front and center in October at Austin City Limits. Gary Clark Jr. will be making his sixth appearance at the festival and you better believe playing for his hometown crowd will be something special. Tickets are on sale now. 3-Day General Admission Tickets and 3-Day GA+ tickets for both weekends are available as well as 1-Day General Admission Tickets, 1-Day GA+ Tickets, 1-Day VIP Tickets, and 1-Day Platinum Tickets at www.aclfestival.com. 3-Day VIP and Platinum Tickets and Hotel Packages are also available. Music fans ages 10 and under will be admitted free of charge when accompanied by a ticketed adult. You don’t want to miss out on this event, get your tickets today!
*Featured Photo | via Artist FB*