Brain-bending blues guitar rock is alive and well in the form of Gary Clark Jr. But as he’s proven time and again, Clark is hardly happy to be pigeonholed as the “heir to Jimi Hendrix” or whatever nonsense packaging that music journalists want to put him in for their often unimaginative, if glowing, reviews.
Clark doesn’t navigate music by category or clinical classification—he goes purely by feel, by blood and sweat and groove, and that’s what makes him one of the greatest at what he does. He’s going to melt your face, but he’s going to both give you a history lesson and expand your mind at the same time. Get your hands on his new record, The Story of Sonny Boy Slim, to learn firsthand what this means, and do yourself a favor, enter into it without any sort of preconceived notion. It’s gonna sound amazing no matter what, but why tie yourself down as a listener? Clark isn’t as a musician.
This track, “Shake,” was performed as part of a live series at Arlyn Studios in the Austin, Texas, Opera House. Clark had this to say about the rocking track:
“There was this Quaker Oats box that was made into this crazy three-stringed guitar on the wall. I just picked it up and started playing it and got into this groove. I called in Jay Moeller and said, ‘Man, I need you to do your magic,’ and it just came out in one take. I just let loose the boogie. You can put the word ‘ass’ before the title ‘Shake.’ That’s what it’s supposed to be.”
Want more? Catch him on tour now, and on Ellen on Oct. 19, Late Night With Seth Meyers on Oct. 29, and on the legendary Austin City Limits on PBS on October 31.