Gary Clark Jr. On His First Car, The Evolution Of The Blues & His Latest LP 'This Land'
GRAMMY-winning singer/songwriter Gary Clark Jr. was destined to be a bluesman from the beginning, performing at blues bars of Austin, Texas. Now, 17 years after exploding out of the Lone Star State on his first national tour, Clark, Jr. delivers his fifth studio albums with This Land. We tracked down the man himself to chat about the transformation he and the blues genre have experienced, starting with his earliest tour memories.
Clark Jr. went way back to talk about his first tour with Jimmie Vaughan in 2002, right out of high school, and tell us about the car he bought to take on the road.
"I saved up enough money running around and playing smokey blues bars to get myself a 1994 Sedan DeVille, pearl, blue interor, real woodgrain, it was beautiful, digital," Clark said with a smile. "I thought I was somebody."
"Jimmy Vaughan taught me how to be a real pro musician... how to tour like a real musician," he added,
But all these years later, Clark Jr. has become one of the torchbearers for a new generation of blues heroes.
"I think about how blues, in particular, has kind of evolved into rock and roll and funk," he said. "I grew up listening to all that music. I grew up listening to soul music, and listening to people like Marvin Gaye and Curtis Mayfield and Stevie Wonder and their songwriting, things they were talking about. Bob Marley & The Wailers. I was just influeced by that and how their telling stories and talking about people and trying to find a way to get up and get out."
His latest project began to take shape when Clark Jr.'s manager tapped him on the shoulder to say, "hey, it's about that time." The result is the bold new LP This Land. More than just the next chapter in his story, the project shines with inspiration of those who came before him and burns it's way into new territory. This type of artistic expression and expansion is crucial to Clark Jr.
"I just don’t want to be stuck an attached to one thing. There’s so many ways to create and express yourself with music and art,” he said. “I’m just keeping myself open to whatever may come, whatever I can get my hands on and make some noise with. I’m a boy from Texas on this crazy journey."