Gary Clark Jr. -Live

Gary Clark Jr.

It does my heart (soul, spirit, and general health) good to hear an album like Gary Clark Jr.’s Live blasting through my car speakers on a warm spring day. He’s another Texas Guitar God like my personal favorite axeman Stevie Ray Vaughan. Stevie ignited my interest in electric blues almost 30 years ago and Gary Clark has renewed the thrill of jamming to a mean guitar solo. I saw Gary Clark Jr. play While My guitar Gently Weeps on the Grammy’s Beatles tribute and it was inspirational. I still dragged my feet on buying his live 2-disc set (mostly because I couldn’t find a used copy) until recently and I felt foolish for all the time wasted on other trivial things. Clark’s Live album has everything you would expect from an artist that combines blues and rock but he manages to sound original. That’s a difficult task when you’ve been compared to Jimi Hendrix and play a mix of classic blues artists such as Muddy Waters, B.B. King and Albert Collins. He’s the kind of guitarist I like immediately because I can hear his confidence then I end up loving his music more each time I hear it during the softer moments. It’s those times I hear the pauses and changes of pace that really thrill because it feels like a performer who has the audience right where he wants them. Disc 2 is where a lot of live albums flatten out until the inevitable finale, Gary Clark’s music goes a notch higher and leaves it there until the finale. When I listened to Numb at the end of disc 1, I beleived that song should have been the one to end on it’s amazing. I had that thought again during his cover of Hendrix’s Third Stone, during Blak and Blu and again with Bright Lights. The final song When The Sun Goes Down felt like a pleasant cool down to a bad ass workout. It’s probably not the best tune on the record but it doesn’t matter by then, GCJ has won. Live is the kind of record where When The Sun Goes Down might become my favorite tune after enough listens, there’s not a skip-able tune on it. I keep browsing social media to listen to other live GCJ performances and I like how he mixes up shows and versions of songs found on his Live release. I haven’t bought Blak and Blue his 2012 studio album (can’t find it used either) I want to see how his studio work compares to his live output. My guess is I won’t be drawn to the studio tracks like his live performances, near-perfection is hard to top. In the wake of the loss of B.B. King it’s nice to know that the blues lives on in capable hands.

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