by Christine Leonard
Gary Clark Jr. –
Warner Bros. Records
Grammy Award winning singer/songwriter/guitarist/Texan Gary Clark Jr. returns to his birthplace for solace and inspiration on his third full-length release, This Land.
Destined to become a classic in its own right, This Land declares that Mr. Clark is pissed and has a mighty big axe to grind.
“What About Us” conjures a deep but glorious groove that plows through a subterfuge of surging strings and modern conundrums. Lyrics that tip a hat to showmen like Prince and electric guitar flourishes that pay homage Hendrix aren’t just spiritual ornamentation; they’re a means to an end.
Stepping beneath the shady boughs, the slow sway of “I Got My Eyes on You (Locked & Loaded)” and “Pearl Cadillac” allow ample room for Clark’s voice to breathe and bloom with an irresistible combination of vulnerability and strength.
Meanwhile, the boppin’ rocker “Gotta Get Into Something” fills the air with dust and smoke as “Got To Get Up” puts in hard labour on the bluesman’s chain gang.
Traversing drought and flood, This Land is a remarkable 17-chapter scrapbook of Americana that draws a line of conscience in the sand between the unnecessarily nostalgic and the crucially historic.