Let Gary Clark Jr. Tell You 'The Story Of Sonny Boy Slim'
From his frenetic fretboard stylings to his heartfelt, soulful vocals, Texan Gary Clark Jr.'s eclectically powered musical mindset has proved nothing short of irresistible over the last few years. Led by his ample guitar chops and powerfully emotive songwriting, his breath-taking blend of blues, jazz, rock, soul, hip-hop and beyond has seen him receive universal acclaim from critics, fans and fellow artists. From performing on major festivals stages through to playing with the likes of Eric Clapton, The Rolling Stones, Foo Fighters and John Mayer, and from appearing on film soundtracks to winning a Grammy in 2014, Clark Jr. has proved beyond doubt the singular appeal of his talent.
Following up the rambunctiously eclectic verve and raw, bluesy passion of his 2012 'Blak And Blu' album, Clark Jr. has returned with a slightly more refined sonic palette on his just released 'The Story Of Sonny Boy Slim'. Eschewing the more exuberant ambition of his debut, Clark Jr. has channeled his instincts into a more cohesive framework that finds his intuitive blues, gospel and rock accents being underpinned by hip-hop inspired percussion - 'I love hip-hop; I love the drums, the intensity of those sounds' - and at times a more classic soul and funk hued sensibility.
Having traveled the world and become a father in the time since his debut, the new album is lyrically informed by new horizons that are both personal and political, with Clark Jr. saying 'a lot of stuff that has influenced this record outside of my personal experiences...I see the news about Ferguson, Baltimore; things that are going on overseas...that stuff affects everybody, from killings to recession...to natural disasters; people are getting killed; people want this money; it's desperate, it's like there is this energy happening right now, it's like 'what the fuck is going on'...that played a big part in this album, the intensity; the underlying tone of this album is, like, faith and hope, really...I hope to bring people together'.
From heart-felt intimacies and honest reflection, to righteous indignation and oracular counsel, Clark Jr. compels with his insight and sagacity as he addresses both the conscience and the soul of his listeners: the fuzzy stomp and keening skirl of 'Grinder''s fiending-for-lucre lament; finding refuge and resolve in 'Healing''s bluesy-riffed musical-messianism, Clark Jr. sets out his unshakeable faith in music as a salve for the soul with the fervor of a true believer; seeking the edification of his better angels in the face of an out-of-reach love with the acoustic strum and harmonica powered invocation that is 'Church'; the soulful swagger and 'keep-the-faith' defiance of the poignant piano, sauntering bass and punchy-horned chorus that drives 'Hold On''s plus ça change realization; the loving encouragement and words of wisdom of the funky lick, loping groove and falsetto hues of 'Star'; 'Cold Blooded''s horn-laden, classic soul/funk accents that cradle his bruised falsetto as he makes the choice to protect his heart.
A honing of the instinct, a shaping of his craft, with 'The Story Of Sonny Boy Slim' Gark Clark Jr. has harnessed the prodigious, roiling talent that swirls within himself to showcase a world that he now sees through freshly focused eyes, saying 'Sonny Boy Slim is me...it's my story'.
'The Story Of Sonny Boy Slim' is now available through iTunes.