Gary Clark Jr. defines moment with "This Land"
The columnist was fortunate enough to get an advance listen to the newest album from iconic Austin, Texas, guitar slinger extraordinaire Gary Clark Jr. titled “This Land.” Ready for a Feb. 22 release, you can catch Clark when he’s the musical guest tomorrow on Saturday Night Live. It should prove an iconic moment.
In his early-30s, Clarks has established himself as the new voice of American blues-based music. With his latest 16 track masterpiece, Clark’s ascends to the level of groundbreaking artists who've made albums that capture a moment better than a photograph.
The album's title track, its cornerstone, combines hip hop, reggae, funk, hard rock and through lyrics that act as journalism, creates the modern voice of American blues. "This Land" is a wake up call from a voice that's lived its message. Clark nails the modern black experience like few. It's bigger than Childish Gambino's "This is America, Kendrick Lamar's "Damn," Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On," Stevie Wonder's "Songs in the Key of Life" and Prince's "Sign of the Times" yet singular. It's a defining moment in America and American music.
The video is equally as powerful: •Gary Clark Jr. — "This Land" — https://youtu.be/9KgNaRQ_J-c.
Clark’s ability to transition into funk with “What About Us” provides as big of a sound as heard in a while. Followed by the sweet soul of “I Got My Eyes On You,” he’s a songwriter for many seasons. It proves a great set up for the sonic maestro to follow with crunchy guitars and falsetto vocals on “I Walk Alone.”
Unexpected explorations into reggae fuels “Feeling Like a Million” into a new realm by mixing rock and reggae in ways bands attempt to make a career from. Clark could write the coolest polka song ever conceived if that was his mood, I have no doubts. The chugging punk rock riffing to “Gotta Get Into Something” screams into Chuck Berry-meets-Misfits territory and fits naturally with the flow.
The lush soundscape behind stoic kick drum provides the backbeat to the Prince-infused “Pearl Cadillac.” He does the purple one’s sensibility justice. The sexy rhumba beat to “When I’m Gone” feeds cool surf rock guitars and 50s stylings to create a modern pop treat.
Breezing into jazz territory, Clark’s multiplicitous virtuosity shines with the groovy “Guitar Man.” It’s on the hammer-heavy “Low Down Rolling Stone,” replete with organ and searing guitar leads that takes Clark back to his roots as the smoking’ guitar-slinger. It’s equally displayed with his dobro blues on “The Governor.” Remember, he’s a blues man at the core.
“Don’t Wait ‘til Tomorrow” grabs an early 1970s funk vibe and moves with a modern infusion through elements of emo-soul. Clark can prove a one-of-a-kind music visionary in the vein of the Stevie Wonder school of multi-genre mashing and mastery. Clark's return to reggae infusion with “Highway 71” is wah-wah layered funk and roll magic.
Returning to the purest form of blues stylings, Clark lays the hammer down with “Dirty Dishes Blues.” Alone with a guitar and stomping foot, he muddies the waters and makes a clear statement that the blues are in his blood.
On tour throughout the year, the Warner Bros. artist is sure to make a stop somewhere close. I’ll be shooting for an interview and review of an upcoming show. If you want to find out more, check out his website: https://www.garyclarkjr.com. If you want a great collection of the patchwork quilt that is American music — and reflective songwriting on the state of America — pick up “This Land” and let the music do the talking.
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I hope you tuned in for the Valentine’s Day Bring the Boom Box Valentine’s Day Mixtape Special Mixtape that proved a labor of love for this week's edition of ”Today’s Best Soundemonium!” with Steve Carr, a.k.a. Steve-O, and the columnist. Featuring some great music from: Just Strangers, “Get Rhythm”; the world premiere of Al Berry “All These Lies”; Gary Sanning, "Here Comes The Sun"; Casey Abbe & Joanie McClenney, “Let Me Fall”; J.D. Famoly & Wil Jones, “Maggie’s Farm”; and Bret & Daphne Pollan, “Squeeze Box” it was a real sweetheart deal filled with fun.
Jokey provided sour grapes for the set-up for this week’s joke set-up. Here’s the punchline:
“It doesn't say anything, it just let out a little wine.”
Turn your radio dial to Magic 95.3 FM Radio around 6:25 p.m. each Thursday (if not much earlier) or stream the half-hour show online: http://s1.phx.icastcenter.com/start/kmgz953/ or www.onlineradiobox.com; or on the Apple or Android apps or on the TuneIn app, or: http://www.kmgz.com/.
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