Gary Clark Jr. - The Bright Lights EP
Record Label: Warner Bros.
Release Date: Aug. 8, 2011
There's talent and then there's talent. Austin blues guitarist Gary Clark Jr. possesses the latter, a rare skill that few if any can claim. Already cited by myriad publications as being the next great savior of the Austin rock scene, and already being billed by many as America's next great hope, Clark Jr.'s four-song The Bright Lights EP is a crazy good disc that makes the comparisons to Hendrix and Stevie Ray that much more credible. Susan Tedeschi and her Grammys better watch their back.
Equal parts rock, soul and blues, Bright Lights opens up with the title track a creeping, slow-moving jaunt in which Clark Jr. incorporates fluid guitar lines, a powerful voice and an effortless, no-holds-barred swagger that rivals any of his contemporaries. To put it bluntly, they just don't craft songs like this any more. He ups the sonic ante on the punchy "Don't Owe You a Thang," before settling things down on the near-perfect "Things are Changin'," a live acoustic ballad that is tender and trembling and allows Clark Jr. to showcase his softer side. The EP rounds up with the 8-minute scorcher "When My Train Pulls In," another solo acoustic effort that goes for the throat and never lets up. When all is said and done it makes for 30 minutes of absolute aural bliss and easily one of the year's best EPs.
Let the critics rave. Let the masses buzz. Gary Clark Jr. is well worth the accolades and then some.