Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Gary Clark Jr. - Live North America 2016 (Warner Bros., 2017)

Modern blues guitarist and singer Gary Clark Jr.'s second live album in a few years is another worthwhile effort and it leans toward the exciting hard blues punctuated by some falsetto drenched soul. The best parts of the music embraces raw grit and funk, developing talented solo and ensemble performances, with several lengthy and memorable guitar led jams. He fronts a rough and ready band and they come out of the gate hard with the appropriately titled "Grinder" and "The Healing" which lead the way with some blistering riffs and soloing and setting the tone for the rest of the album. "When My Train Pulls In" was one of the foundation tracks of his extraordinary debut album and this live version is very potent, with huge slabs of guitar riffing and a massive solo framed by deep and powerful vocals. The group ends the album with an epic trio of performances beginning with a version of blues legend Jimmy Reed's "Honest I Do" that is steeped in the country blues tradition and then the intensity begins to ramp up with some corrosive guitar soloing on "My Baby's Gone" followed by a triumphant version of "Numb" that brings everything together in a powerful conclusion of heavy guitar playing sand insistent rhythm. Overall this is a very good collection of rock tinged hard blues that should appeal to fans of both electric blues and rootsy rock 'n' roll. This album consolidates the raw electric blues of his early recordings and his sweet soulful ambitions and ties them together in a solid collection of live performances. Live North America 2016 - amazon.com

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