Gary Clark Jr.: Bright Lights Full EP

Published on January 28th, 2012

With the worst financial crisis since The Great Depression, the looming  nuclear threat of Iran, the joke of the Republican party, the divorce of Russell Brand and Katy Perry, and the Jersey Shore’s 15th lawsuit hit, its no wonder why today’s times have been so rough!  When times are this shitty and people are this down, its only natural to get the blues.  But cheer up buttercup!  When one door closes, another one opens, for the world of today presents the perfect opportunity for the resurrection of the gritty ol’ blues.

But now you are left pondering, ‘where can I find a young blues guitarist who can really blow my mind?’ The answer, my friends, lies in 27-year-old guitar prodigy, Gary Clark Jr..   He is the  Messiah of blues for the 21st century.   Clark’s four-song EP was released this past August 2011, which is enriched by his psychedelic fluid guitar skills and vocals with guttural howls and a falsetto intonation that all blend together.  In addition to his rough, fat-assed electric guitar riffs and roars of distortion, the smacking of the drums resonates break-beats similar to old school hip-hop.

Considered by some to be the leader of the Austin, Texas rock scene, Clark has established an impressive resume, which has enabled him to play with various rock legends, including Eric Clapton, B.B. King, and Buddy Guy to name a few.  To add the icing onto the cake, Clark’s style of playing has been compared to Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan.  Its no wonder Rolling Stone Magazine declared Clark as “Best Young Gun” in its April 2011 “Best Rock” issue.

The blues extend deeper than just rhythmical composition, it’s the voice overcoming the hard knocks in life reflected by literal and figurative lyrics that instill an empowering sense over our untamable emotions. My recent obsession these days has been the first track off his EP, “Bright Lights”, which is about the intoxication from “bright lights big city going through my head”.  New York’s illuminating lights fuel his sense of self-energy, even though every night turns out the same, “start off with a bottle/ endin’ up with a bottle/ takin’ shots, waiting on tomorrow.”  Clark confesses the surprising transformation he undergoes despite life’s seeming repetitiveness, which he artfully depicts through the cyclic chorus.  My favorite chunk of the song is in the third round of lyrics, “get lost in this city/ tryin to find myself/ I went up a different person, came down somebody else/ I know it ain’t right, but its all in my head/ Oh I’m surprised that I’m still alive I should be dead.”

While blues lyrics often deal with personal adversity, the music itself goes far beyond self-pity.  The blues are also about overcoming hard luck, saying what you feel, ridding yourself of frustration, letting your hair down, and simply having fun.  Gary Clark Jr. has proved venerable with his effortless technique to implement fusions of contemporary influences and classic blues metaphors that make his EP “Bright Lights” so gripping.  From uncontrolled joy to deep sadness, Clark reestablishes that no other genre of music communicates more genuine emotion. I absolutely cannot wait for the album!


Listen to the full EP:


Live set from Crossroads Guitar Festival 2010:


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