Austin-based bluesman Gary Clark Jr. has a lot of responsibility on his shoulders. The guitarist has been anointed with the label of the leader of the local scene, offering a style that has at times been compared to Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan. Those two dudes aren’t exactly slouches. Next week, Clark Jr. is showcasing that immeasurable talent on his major label debut The Bright Lights EP for Warner Brothers Records, which will give a taste of what’s to come before his full-length drops in 2012.
Not surprisingly, the EP features Clark Jr.’s handy work on the axe. There are four songs, two of which are live. On the studio tracks, Clark Jr. is more contained, focusing more on song structure and fine-tuning his sound, whereas on the live tracks, the sound is full, confident (sounding like John Mayer due to the slow precision) and makes you believe that the type surrounding him is for real.
The Bright Lights EP starts off with the title track, which has a turn of reverb and oozes heavy blues. Clark Jr. sounds like a classic bluesman, channeling his inner B.B. King /Eric Clapton/Muddy Waters. His voice is big and confident and unlike any other newcomer in his genre. Wailing guitars are the highlight and show that the man can play.
“Don’t Owe You A Thing” is the second studio track and shows Clark Jr.’s range as a songwriter. This is a throwback, classic blues track, something that Bob Dylan replicated on his Modern Times record. This is an up-tempo tune that again showcases the musician’s ability to jam, and it sounds pretty damn good.
To think that The Bright Lights EP is only a smidget of what Gary Clark Jr. can offer is incredible. The man has a world of potential and if he plays his cards (and songwriting) correctly, he could become the next guitar hero that world is looking for.
The Bright Lights EP is out on Warner Brothers Records on August 9.