Gary Clark Jr. has something to say.
The Austin, Texas-based blues guitarist/singer releases his fifth full-length album, This Land, today — but it isn’t an easy listen. I mean, it’s an easy listen as far expertly-crafted songs that blend rock, blues, alternative, reggae and hip-hop into a bounty of solid material are concerned, but thematically? It’s intense at times. Click here to pick up a copy.
The title track, which was the first song previewed from the album, starts things off on a dramatic, poignant note, Clark and his wailing guitar addressing racial issues with an autobiographical display that was elevated further with its music video:
Talk about a powerful opening statement, right?
On previous records, Clark’s guitar was always at the forefront, but songwriting style, the material had dabbled in a wide array of genres that sometimes hid his consistently above-the-cuff guitar work. Thankfully, on This Land the guitar is basically cranked to 11 on each song.
“What About Us” follows “This Land” and keeps the energy up, Clark’s vocals pairing with the jagged guitar riffs perfectly.
Clark’s soulful side shines through on “I Got My Eyes On You” and “I Walk Alone,” the latter of which was another pre-release track that helped amass buzz for the album and finds him at his best, even when slowing things down a bit.
After the record begins with precise exercises in blues-rock, Clark throws the listener for a loop with “Feeling Like a Million,” a reggae-tinged track with positive lyrics that works, mostly thanks to the guitar jumping in and driving the chorus. It’s easily a standout track on the album.
“Pearl Cadillac,” which Clark played on Saturday Night Live, is another highlight:
So as to not go track-by-track and make this piece far too long, here’s the gist: Gary Clark Jr. has put together one of his most cohesive albums to date with This Land. It’s sure to elevate his profile even further, and probably add another signature track or two to his repertoire.
If you weren’t already a big fan of his, this record will likely make one of you — few contemporary artists seem as able to tap into their influences and pull from as strong a natural ability as his, and it makes for some killer music.
Stream the album below via Spotify:
And catch Clark on the road later this spring:
Mar 09 Miami, FL Fillmore Miami Beach at The Jackie Gleason Theater
Mar 10 Tampa, FL Gasparilla Music Festival
Mar 13 Springfield, MO Gillioz Theatre
*Mar 14 Columbia, MO The Blue Note
Mar 15 Chicago, IL Chicago Theatre presented by Chase
Mar 16 Chicago, IL Chicago Theatre presented by Chase
Mar 18 Indianapolis, IN Old National Centre – Murat Theatre
Mar 20 Pittsburgh, PA Benendum Center
Mar 21 New York City, NY Beacon Theatre presented by Chase
Mar 22 New York City, NY Beacon Theatre presented by Chase
Mar 23 New York City, NY Beacon Theatre presented by Chase
Mar 26 Boston, MA House of Blues
Mar 27 Boston, MA House of Blues
Mar 29 Philadelphia, PA Met Opera House
Mar 30 Washington, DC The Anthem
Mar 31 Richmond, VA The National
Apr 02 Durham, NC Durham PAC
Apr 03 Charlotte, NC The Fillmore Charlotte
Apr 05 Nashville, TN Ryman Auditorium
Apr 06 Nashville, TN Ryman Auditorium
Apr 07 Nashville, TN Ryman Auditorium
*May 04 Atlanta, GA Shaky Knees Music Festival
*May 25 Napa, CA BottleRock Music Festival