BONNAROO SPOTLIGHT: Gary Clark Jr.

BONNAROO SPOTLIGHT: Gary Clark Jr.

The first time we ever saw Gary Clark Jr. was at Bonnaroo. We knew he was destined for greatness then and now four Grammys later he’s coming back to the Farm!

The Austin Texas native began playing guitar at the age of 12. He played small gigs throughout his teens until he met promoter Clifford Antone, owner of the Austin music club Antone’s. Antone’s was the launch pad where Jimmie and Stevie Ray Vaughan redefined blues at the time. After meeting Clifford, Clark began to perform with other musicians, including Jimmie Vaughan.

He’s always been a gifted multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and performer, but his latest album, JPEG RAW, represents a quantum leap from previous albums. “Blues will always be my foundation,” says Clark. “But that’s just scratching the surface. I’m also a beat maker and an impressionist who likes to do different voices. I’ve always loved theater and being able to tell a story. At home when I play the trumpet, I think Lee Morgan, or John Coltrane when I play the sax. I’ve even got bagpipes just in case I need them. So while this is my most honest and vulnerable album about relating to the human condition, it’s also the most freeing.”

The album’s title track examines the role cell-phone society plays in this chaos at the expense of real-life, one-on-one interaction. At one point in the song, he decries the fact that “my boy just can’t walk around in the store with the hoodie hoodie / They gon be watching you like lookie lookie.” “I don’t love having a mobile device,” explains Clark of the song’s origin and the album’s overarching theme. “I miss being able to have more genuine interaction, looking someone in the eyes and learning something, getting a perspective. JPEG RAW is about showing the real and not the edit. We live in a world of edits, filters and redos. We only get one shot.”

All his albums are great but if you’ve never seen him live, then you are in for a treat! Gary Clark Jr. will be performing at Bonnaroo on Friday, June 14th at 5:45 PM in the Which Tent. We’ll be there, so should you!

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About Jerry Holthouse

Music editor for Nashville.com. Jerry Holthouse is a content writer, songwriter and a graphic designer. He owns and runs Holthouse Creative, a full service creative agency. He is an avid outdoorsman and a lover of everything music. You can contact him at JerryHolthouse@Nashville.com

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