5

Gary Clark, Jr.: Live North America 2016

Doug Collette By

Sign in to view read count
Gary Clark, Jr.: Live North America 2016 At first glance and upon initial listen, Gary Clark, Jr.'s Live North America 2016 suggests a holding pattern on his rapidly-developing career. More careful perusal, however, reveals the man's second concert release, out in fairly quick succession to both Live (Warner Bros., 2014) and his last studio album, The Story of Sunny Boy Slim (Warner Bros., 2015), is the full and complete personal artistic statement the latter title purported to be, as well as harbinger of future stylistic changes.

In its pure unadulterated emotional and sonic form, sans overdubs of any kind, the honest power of Clark and his band's musicianship sheds a discernibly different light on the polished likes of the aforementioned studio work, During the seven (!) culls from from that aforementioned record, including "Grinder" and "The Healer," the guitarist/vocalist depicts how forcefully he can parlay this music in practiced, natural collaboration with guitarist Eric 'King' Zapata, bassist Johnny Bradley and drummer Johnny Radelat. And while the cacophonous closer, "Numb," is a carryover from the prior double live release, it still sounds so close to the artist's heart and soul; as such, it will be sure to satiate the appetites of the most ravenous guitar hero-worshipers

As world-weary as are Clark's vocals at times-and outright plaintive in his falsetto on "Our Love")-his guitar playing is pointed as it is passionate. He knows how to formulate a thought and state it so forthrightly he neither overextends himself or wastes notes even on "When My Train Pulls In," the longest track here at just shy of ten minutes duration. In compensation for such repeats, the two 'new' numbers on this single, twelve-track CD, covers of Jimmy Reed's "Honest I do" and Elmore James' "My Baby's Gone," reaffirm Clark's blues roots as much as the hypnotic r&b/soul styling of "Down to Ride" broadens the depiction of his stylistic influences.

Meantime, the guest appearances of vocalist Leon Bridges and saxophonist Jeff Dazey on "Shake" suggest an eclectic approach in a different form. While this cut is of a piece with the rest of this record, the continuity enacted by Clark's abrasive slide guitar, the contrast offered by the extra voice and the horn gives a hint about how the Austin native's music would sound with an expanded ensemble. As a result, the intrinsic value of the Live North America 2016 transcends first impressions, reaffirming what fans of Gary Clark Jr. already know so well (and savor) while representing a memorable introduction to the casual listener not so familiar with his work.

Track Listing: Grinder; The Healing; Our Love; Cold Blooded; When My Train Pulls In; Down To Ride; You Saved Me; Shake; Church; Honest I Do; My Baby's Gone; Numb.

Personnel: Gary Clark Jr.: vocals, guitars, harmonica; Eric 'King' Zapata: guitars Johnny Bradley: bass, background vocals; Johnny Radelat: Drums, background vocals Leon Bridges: vocals (track eight only); Jeff Dazey: saxophone (track eight only).

Title: Live North America 2016 | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Warner Bros.


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read 90 Going On Amazing CD/LP/Track Review 90 Going On Amazing
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 21, 2017
Read Let There Be Life, Love and Laughter CD/LP/Track Review Let There Be Life, Love and Laughter
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: August 21, 2017
Read L.O.T.U.S. CD/LP/Track Review L.O.T.U.S.
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 21, 2017
Read Art in the Age of Automation CD/LP/Track Review Art in the Age of Automation
by Geno Thackara
Published: August 21, 2017
Read Screen Sounds CD/LP/Track Review Screen Sounds
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 20, 2017
Read Rediscovered Ellington CD/LP/Track Review Rediscovered Ellington
by Troy Dostert
Published: August 20, 2017
Read "Ask Seek Knock" CD/LP/Track Review Ask Seek Knock
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 28, 2017
Read "Honest Woman" CD/LP/Track Review Honest Woman
by James Nadal
Published: February 20, 2017
Read "Introducing...Rubén González" CD/LP/Track Review Introducing...Rubén González
by James Nadal
Published: June 16, 2017
Read "Kill Together" CD/LP/Track Review Kill Together
by Geno Thackara
Published: March 12, 2017
Read "Thick As Thieves" CD/LP/Track Review Thick As Thieves
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 22, 2017
Read "Algorithmic Society" CD/LP/Track Review Algorithmic Society
by Jim Trageser
Published: October 23, 2016

Sponsor: JANA PROJECT | LEARN MORE  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.