Ben Locke  Blak and Blu Album Review

Gary Clark Jr. bends more genres then he does guitar strings on Blak and Blu, making it one of the more memorable albums of the year. The first track “Ain’t Messing Around” reflects the time he’s spent in New Orleans this past year on the festival circuit as horns dominate this upbeat, Creole-infused anthem. “When My Train Pulls In”, in an 8-minute blues odyssey that turns the listener into an instant fan incredible guitar skills. “Black And Blu” showcases more of his R&B, experimental side but is still a delight.

“Bright Lights”, one of his best works is fantastically repackaged on Blak and Blu and as he sings “You’ll know my name by the end of the night” , he truly convinces you he’s worth remembering. On “Travis County” he peens in a classic southern rock number then transitioning to “This Life”, a hip-hop influenced s track that seems to channel Wiz Khalifa mixed with Lenny Kravitz.

It is very apparent on Blak and Blu that Gary Clark Jr doesn’t not skimp on the blues-rock. Both “Glitter Ain’t Gold” and “Numb” are filled with fuzz guitar, powerful riffs, and croons in a way only a true bluesman is capable off. The intimacy of “Please Come Home” and “Things Are Changing” reminds one of  songs one would play at a senior prom, if they chose to play good music for the occasion.

One of the biggest gems on this album is his cover of Jimi Hendrix’s “Third Stone From The Sun” which he beautifully intertwines with “If You Love Me Like You Say”. If you are trying to compare the song to the original, you cant compare, but if you want to hear one of rock’s most exiting up and coming guitarist put his own spin on a classic song definitely give this one a chance.

After the funky “You Saved Me” he closes the album by going back to his roots for the slide guitar filled “Next Door Neighbor Blues” . One things for certain, Gary Clark Jr. is guitar’s second coming. A strong, emotional player who doesn’t just master the guitar, but he writes songs that showcase it beautifully.