Album of the Week: Gary Clark Jr., 'This Land'

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Gary Clark Jr., 'This Land'
Gary Clark Jr., 'This Land' (Courtesy of Warner Bros.)

At the beginning of 2019, the title track to Gary Clark Jr.'s forthcoming album, This Land, came as a surprise to fans waiting for the next modern blues rock release they have come to expect from the guitar virtuoso. Instead of a Texas blues rock jam or the guitar focused, Sonny Boy Slim, they heard a preview to an album that is so much more. This Land is an artistic statement aimed at transforming his image from an Austin blues artist to a rock and roll prophet with something to say about living in America. That first impression of the album could be a defining moment in his career as he leaves old blues cliches behind for songs that push into new territory as a songwriter, lyricist, and singer.

You can hear the raw emotion that Gary Clark Jr. poured into this album and the desire to reach outside the boundaries of his previous releases. Earlier this month, he explained in Rolling Stone interview that the song "This Land" is about being Black in America. The timing of this self produced album couldn't make more sense as he described his frustrations with the political climate and current events of the past few years.

This Land sets the table for the album but what follows isn't entirely full of vitriol or angst. "Pearl Cadillac" is an over the top ballad with Clark's wailing guitar riffs and a Prince-esque falsetto. From that to the moments that pull you back to his blues roots, the album is a clear step forward for Clark who now has one of the most respectable careers in making rock records but still maintains the status of an incredible live musician.

Gary Clark Jr.'s This Land is out on February 22.

Resources


Gary Clark Jr. - Official Site

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