Written by Eddie Ferranti
Nov 26, 2013 at 08:00 PM
ImageGary Clark Jr. picked up a guitar at age 12 and 17 years later, he has risen to the top as one of the baddest blues rock guitarist on the scene today.

He culled his trade in Austin for years but got his big break in 2010 when he appeared at the Crossroads Fest in Chicago as a guest of Eric Clapton. It seems like yesterday that I caught him at Discovery Green in Houston for free and this night he sold out the Warehouse Live in Houston like he’s been doing all the country!

Still touring behind his 2012 release, ‘Blac and Blu’, Clark had the crowd in his back pocket all night as he demonstrated some amazing skills on his axe backed by a solid 3-piece band. This was a stripped-down, no-frills gig that only had “special effects” blazing from his guitar from the get go with “Ain’t Messin’ Around” and mellowed out groover “Travis County”.

His “chicken neck” posing stance solidified his laid back, soft-spoken nature all the while just killin’ it in a psychedelic, hypnotic jam session all night. Dude can deliver some silky smooth vocals, too, like on steamy “Please Come Home” and killer encore “You Saved Me”. Every song seemed elongated and he seemed barely to notice a sweaty sardine packed crowd bending and swaying-as much as they could-all night long.

Speaking of the crowd, man, was it over packed. Selling a gig out is one thing, but this thing was down right ugly. Not that it was rowdy, but enjoyable no. Moving was NOT an option and took away from the awesome performance on stage.

Of course, Clark has been mentioned with the legendary Jimi Hendrix and his cover of “Third Stone From the Sun” did nothing to diminish the comparisons. GCJ plays with the confidence of someone well his senior and seems to drag all of his tunes right up from the Delta in rock blues bliss in a smooth and effortless manner. He can southern rock your ass and then put you in a Chicago blues club all in the same song.

This unique combination helps seperate him from so many of his contemporaries and is why the likes of BB King, Jimmy Vaughn and Buddy Guy shower him with praise. Can’t wait to catch this beast of a guitar master in a more comfortable setting the next time around…Happy Holidays to all!