Sunday, October 28, 2012

Glitter Ain't Gold: Gary Clark, Jr. - "When My Train Pulls In" (Blak & Blu Review)

Rock "N" Roll is an expressive art form: Whether it makes you want to passionately sing, dance, play, or even write. Blak & Blu is such a BIG, comprehensive album that'll undoubtedly get a lot of coverage. Sometimes I tend to stray away from potential "big ticket" pieces of that level. But fuck it - Blak & Blu is such a great collection that it honesty deserves every damn ounce of coverage it's getting! While a handful of critics have already started raggin' on Gary Clark Jr. for supposedly "selling out," abandoning his Austin Blues Rock roots, and making an eclectic [slightly "commercial"] album ... I feel like it's a pretty smart move right outta the gates; This way Clark won't get labelled a one-trick, guitar-playing pony. Plus, if he played grandiose guitar solos on nearly every track, people would call him a dick anyways. "Bright Lights" is a guitar feedback-soaked middle finger aimed @ Clark's detractors, while "When My Train Pulls In" is your basic Rhythm & Blues stomper, complete with heartbreak/runaway train metaphor and some added Texas steez [SWAGGER]. Gary Clark Jr.'s major label debut, Blak & Blu is also littered with touches of Hip-Hop, Classic Rock, Americana, Country, Blues Rock, and much more.

I mean, shit, Clark has already been heralded as a re-born Hendrix-like guitar virtuoso by everyone from Mick Jagger to Alicia Keys! He's managed to self-release 3 albums-worth of material on his own Hotwire Unlimited imprint and has essentially been fine-tuning guitar skills for 14 of his 28 years. Some of those very tracks from Worry NO More, 110, and Gary Clark Jr. EP (2004-10) have been re-recorded and re-masstered, with production work from Mike Elizondo & Rob Cavallo, and are now included on Blak & Blu. Tracks #7-8, "Glitter Ain't Gold (Jumpin' for Nothin')" and "Numb" are particularly note-worthy as well, showcasing Gary Clark Jr.'s Pop Radio sensibilities and a nearly Rage Against The Machine level of Rock "N" Roll sleaze. Even after criss-crossing the nation for the bulk of Summer '12 playing roughly 15-20 festivals, Clark is STILL touring! But now it's in support of Blak & Blu, which was released last Monday. He'll be on an North American tour through Nov. 16th, including a date @ "Fillmore @ The TLA" (Philly) on Saturday Nov. 10th.

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