(1984-Most Likely Forever)
“Whatever goals, whatever aspirations, you got to be the one to make it happen…”
Born in Austin, Texas from a musical family, Gary Clark Jr. was bound to become a most promising young gun in the field of Blues Rock. Exploding with fame at 26, he was invited to perform at a White House’s Red White and Blues concert at 28.
Clark’s musical history is rich, from taking part in choirs all throughout his childhood to meeting with the same people that gave a jump start to SRV. Picking up his first guitar at an age of 12, Clark recalls that he barely had any formal training but instead listened and watched those who influenced him. It is widely acknowledged that Gary Clark Jr. career is still at it’s dawn and the expectations bar is set extremely high. After all, Clark was the first Blues Guitarist under age of 30 to score a full band place at Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Festival.
Praised by all, B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Dave Matthews and even Barack Obama, Clark is up to no good, he is up to take the world by storm filled with raw fuzzy sounds of his guitar and pure melodic sound of his voice. A numbing combination if used right.
In 2012 Clark had released his debut album “Blak and Blue” which showed how great things can be done if a person is listening to his own heart instead of wishes of others for his art. Blak & Blue has given the listener a bouqet of emotions ranging from calm contemplation of “When my train pulls in” to thrilling suspense of “Numb”. Clark had showed his versatility by giving something for every type of listener, further proving that he is the future and he is the guitar to listen for. Most recently, Gary Clark Jr. had written a few songs for a powerful “12 Years a Slave” which won 3 Academy Awards including the best Movie of 2013.
It baffles me but Gary Clark Jr. is also an example that in proper hands, any axe would sound equal to the best guitars. His favorite one is an Epiphone Casino which has been praised by John Lennon but is considered less of a first choice guitar otherwise.
He plays through Fender Vibro-King and uses FullTone Octafuzz, Analog Man King of Tone and Dunlop Crybaby among other effects. Clark collects guitars and has over three dozen of them now, most of which are Casinos.
The strings that Gary Clark Jr. uses are D’Addario EXL115 .11-.49
Gary Clark Jr. is who I turn to each time I need a boost of faith in guitar altogether. The sounds that he manages to squeeze out of his Casino puts me in a stupor. So many styles and so many great Blues Legends are mixed into Clark’s own way of playing. Influenced by Junior Kimbrough, Prince, Hound Dog Taylor, all three of the Kings, Albert Collins and many more, Clark does not consider himself a Blues Guitarist to the fullest. Instead he strives to provide his own soul into his music to avoid being just another guitar player. So many influences have made him a next great thing that I personally am going to watch, learn and attempt to understand.
Clark’s guitar solos are a topic of it’s own. I am yet to see a person creating a solo so piercing, soulful and so emotional on the go. Each song he performs live has a place for something so unique, so inspiring and so moving that one cannot just sit and listen without wanting to pick up a guitar and learn to do the same. Clark’s sound of solo is what made me know that this is something I want to do for the rest of my life.
“Bright Lights” was my introduction to Gary Clark Jr. and it got me hooked from the first notes:
“Numb” has assured me I made a right decision choosing Gary Clark Jr. as my influence:
Gary Clark Jr. is what the sound of Blues Guitar should be, filled with emotion and stuffed with feel. It is electrifying, moving and engaging, it gives you strength to get up, it gives you courage to overcome and the power to feel. It engulfs you and burns your worldview down to a new beginning, a beginning which I will follow with great loyalty and hopes that Gary Clark Jr. will one day release his 58th album at an age of 88 and I still will be around to want to learn every note from it. Many thanks for this.