Album of the Week: Blak and Blu by Gary Clark Jr.
In the age of auto tune and music sampling it is rare to find anything truly original… just as it is rare in a time of electro pop to find a modern blues album. Gary Clark Jr. has created a wonderful album that has a timeless sound and yet remains relevant to today. This is his first major label album and you can feel his roots through the polishing. Each track holds the truth of his style in the blues backbone and it is served to the masses with modern R&B and hip-hop trimmings. He is working with producers of big names like Dr. Dre, Prince, Green Day and Fiona Apple. Despite the professional help, this Austin native somehow manages to make the listener feel as though they are in a blues bar listening to an amazing garage band. See my review and listen to the full album after the jump.
The album is lacking a bit of cohesion, perhaps due to the move from independent label to major label. It feels like Gary Clarke Jr. is finding a new sound, but despite that confusion he is creating great tracks. “The Life” is a track that has a mainstream feel and for this fan is reminiscent of John legend. Then you move on to the next track, “Glitter ain’t Gold” and it switches to a rougher sound that speaks to the Lenny Kravitz fan in me. Even though I am reminded of other musician’s styles, I cannot say that I have heard there songs before. Clark Jr. has found something and I will be keeping my ear to the ground. I have a feeling that his sophomore album will yield a decisive sound. As he sings in his “Bright Lights” track, “You’re gonna know my name.”
My Top Three Tracks: Please Come Home, The Life, and Ain’t Messin Around.