Gary Clark, Jr. (born February 15, 1984) is an American Grammy-winning guitarist and actor based in Austin, Texas. Described as being the future of Texas blues, Clark's resume has included sharing the stage with various legends of rock and roll. He has stated that he is "influenced by blues, jazz, soul [and] country, as well as hip hop". Clark's musical trademarks are his extremely fuzzy guitar sound and smooth vocal style.
Gary Clark Jr. began playing guitar at the age of twelve. Born and raised in Austin, Clark played small gigs throughout his teens, until he met promoter Clifford Antone, proprietor of the Austin music club Antone's. Antone's was the launch pad from which Stevie Ray and Jimmie Vaughan redefined blues at the time. Soon after meeting Clifford, Clark began to play with an array of musical icons, including Jimmie Vaughan. Vaughan and others in the Austin music community helped Clark along his musical path, facilitating his ascent in the Texas rock & roll scene. Clark's music demonstrates how the blues have shaped virtually every medium of music over the past century, from hip-hop to country.
Rolling Stone declared Clark "Best Young Gun" in its April 2011, "Best of Rock" issue.
Gary Clark sang on the bonus track cover of "I Want You Back" by the Jackson 5 on Sheryl Crow's album 100 Miles from Memphis.
More recently, Clark recorded with Alicia Keys on two different songs in New York, NY.
On August 28, 2012, Alicia Keys revealed via Twitter that Clark's new album and major-label debut called Blak and Blu would be released on October 22, 2012. Later that day, the news appeared on Clark's official website.
Clark performed at the 2010 Crossroads Guitar Festival alongside B.B. King, Eric Clapton, Buddy Guy, Steve Winwood, John Mayer, Sheryl Crow, Jeff Beck, and ZZ Top. He joined Doyle Bramhall II and Sheryl Crow on stage for their performance with Eric Clapton, and also debuted several original songs.
In June 2011, Clark played at the annual Bonnaroo Music Festival in Manchester, Tennessee, at the Miller Lite On Tap Lounge. On June 10, 2012, Clark again played at Bonnaroo, and his performance was streamed live online via the Bonnaroo MusicFest Channel on YouTube.
In February 2012, Clark performed alongside blues legends at the Red, White and Blues event at the White House. The event, aired on PBS, also included B.B. King, Mick Jagger, Jeff Beck and Buddy Guy, among others. Clark played "Catfish Blues" and "In the Evening (When the Sun Goes Down)", as well as contributing to performances of "Let the Good Times Roll", "Beat Up Old Guitar", "Five Long Years" and "Sweet Home Chicago".
In June 2012, Clark guested with the Dave Matthews Band playing "Can't Stop" and "All Along the Watchtower" at dates in Virginia Beach and Indianapolis.
On October 21 and 22, 2012, Clark appeared as the opening act at the Bridge School Benefit Concert, Bridge XXVI.
On December 8, 2012, Clark appeared at The Rolling Stones' first US-gig of their 50th anniversary tour at the Barclay's Center in Brooklyn, NY to perform the Don Nix song "Going Down" with the band. On December 15, 2012 he joined them onstage again to play the same song, along with John Mayer, during the last date of the Stones' mini-tour at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ.
On June 12, 2013, Clark was the guest performer with the Rolling Stones at Boston's TD Garden. Clark joined the Stones in playing the Freddie King tune 'Going Down'.
On June 30, 2013, Clark appeared on the Avalon stage at the Glastonbury Festival. His performance was declared 'the most electric performance of the festival, knocking the legendary appearance of The Rolling Stones (the previous night) well into second place'.
On October 25, 2013, he appeared on long-running British music show Later... with Jools Holland.
On February 9, 2014,Clark performed The Beatles song While My Guitar Gently Weeps, along with Dave Grohl and Joe Walsh for The Beatles: the Night that Changed America.
On February 16, 2014 Clark performed in during the NBA Allstar Game Halftime with Trombone Shorty, Earth Wind and Fire, Doctor John, and Janelle Monae.
In popular culture
- Clark starred alongside Danny Glover, Stacy Keach, and Charles Dutton in John Sayles' 2007 film, Honeydripper.
- The song "Don't Owe You a Thang" is played in the Clint Eastwood movie Trouble with the Curve.
- "Bright Lights" can be heard in a 2011 Jack Daniel's commercial as well as in the 2012 Max Payne 3 videogame.
- "Bright Lights" has also been used in soundtrack of Stand Up Guys, in the final shootout scene.
- "Bright Lights" was featured in the USA Network series "Suits" in the episode "High Noon."
Awards and recognitions
Kirk Watson, the Mayor of Austin, proclaimed May 3, 2001 to be Gary Clark Jr. Day. Clark was seventeen years old at the time. Clark won the Austin Music Award for Best Blues and Electric Guitarist, on three different occasions.
Clark was SPIN magazine's breakout artist for the month of November 2011.
Rolling Stone magazine ranked Clark's Bright Lights EP (named for the title track, an homage to Jimmy Reed and his song of the same name), number 40 on its list of its top 50 albums of 2011.
"Bright Lights" can be heard in the video game Max Payne 3, the premiere episode of House of Lies, as well as in the movie Think Like a Man near the end when the guys are in the bar before reconciling with their respective ladies, and "Don't Owe You a Thang" can be heard in Need for Speed: The Run
Kirk Hammett from Metallica introduced Clark onstage before his performance at the Orion Festival in Atlantic City, NJ.
While playing music festivals such as Coachella, JazzFest, Memphis Beale St., Hangout, High Sierra, Sasquatch, Mountain Jam, Wakarusa, Bonnaroo, Electric Forest, Hard Rock Calling, Newport Folk Festival, Orion Music Festival, Osheaga, Lollapalooza, and ACL Music Festival, Clark was awarded SPIN Magazine's Golden Corndog award for performing in more major North American Music Festivals in 2012 than any other musician on the planet.
Clark swept the 31st annual Austin Music Awards for 2012-2013, collecting eight awards, he earned the following: Band of the Year, Musician of the Year, Song of the Year - "Ain't Messin Round" (from Blak and Blu), Album of the Year - Blak and Blu, Electric Guitarist of the Year, Songwriter of the Year, Blues/Soul/Funk Artist of the Year, Male Vocalist of the Year.
For his song "Ain't Messin Round", Clark was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Rock Song in 2013. On January 26th, 2014, Clark won the Grammy award for Best Traditional R&B performance at the 56th annual Grammy Awards Ceremony for his song "Please Come Home."
Clark uses Epiphone Casino, Gibson ES-330 and Fender Stratocaster electric guitars and Epiphone Masterbilt and Gibson Hummingbird acoustic guitars.
Clark performed at Alicia Keys' Keep a Child Alive Black Ball benefit, in an effort to raise money for children with AIDS in Africa. The two performed the Beatles' "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" as a tribute to George Harrison.
- 2010 - Gary Clark Jr. EP - Hotwire Unlimited
- 2011 - The Bright Lights EP - Warner Bros. - released 30 November 2010
- 2012 - Gary Clark Jr. Presents Hotwire Unlimited Raw Cuts Vol. 1 - Hotwire Unlimited/Warner Bros. - released 30 April 2012 [U.K. vinyl 45rpm]
- 2012 - The Bright Lights EP Australian Tour Edition - Warner Bros.
- 2013 - Gary Clark Jr. Presents Hotwire Unlimited Raw Cuts Vol. 2 - Warner Bros. - released 21 April 2013 [U.K. vinyl Side A - 33 rpm, Side B - 45rpm]
- Biography portal
- Blues portal
- Official website
- Gary Clark, Jr. on Facebook
- Gary Clark, Jr. on Twitter
- Gary Clark, Jr. on Myspace
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