“We’re calling it. In the rock and roll history books Gary Clark Jr. will have two eras: one before ‘This Land’ and after it”.
I don’t crib other music reviews for this column but after downloading and listening to Gary Clarks latest release, “This Land” on iTunes all day, I wish I did come up with that line and hat’s off to the anonymous iTunes writer who hit that descriptive bull’s eye dead ball’s on
Clarks newest release simply put is a 17 track masterpiece full of stylistic adventure while still offering a lifeline to the rock ‘n’ roll touchstones that seem to be rapidly fading from popular music — wailing guitars, groaning choruses – with his notorious, searing blues infused fretwork as guardrails that makes it easy to understand why Clark is championed by everyone from Beyoncé and Barack Obama to the Foo Fighters, the Rolling Stones and Eric Clapton.
We don’t have the time, need or attention span to break down the diversity of sound styles here but some highlights are the channeling of Curtis Mayfield’s socially conscious work through the pumping horn section, falsetto vocals and wah-wah pedals of “Feed the Babies,” the surge of surf guitars through the punky “Gotta Get Into Something,” the Hendix-like instrumental, pseudo psychedelic guitar jam with “Highway 71″ and the radio friendly 60’s-ish radio type hit, “When I’m Gone” lamenting life on the road for a traveling musician.
This new output of sounds and styles might come as a surprise to fans waiting for the next modern blues rock release they have come to expect from the guitar virtuoso but if you’re a true GCJ fan this recording is totally stacked start to finish and the diversity is the core beauty of it.
Track 12: Highway 71 / 3:32
Track 08: Feed The Babies / 4:47
Track 06: Gotta Get Into Something / 3:04
“This Land” leaves old Clark Jr. blues cliches behind for songs that push into new territory as a songwriter as evidenced in the opening title track in the video embedded below. Be warned, Clark pull’s no punches lyrically in this political statement with his use of the n-word but it’s far from gratuitous ala so many rap songs and the man knows more than a few hard, first hand facts about being dark skinned in America and encountering racism in his life and is a statement transforming him from an Austin, Texas blues artist to a rock and roll prophet with something to say about living in America.
How good is this new release from Gary Clark Jr.? This Land is a 2019 Grammy Award winner if ever there was one.
And we’re calling it. – Mez –
- This Land
- What About Us
- I Got My Eyes On You (Locked & Loaded)
- I Walk Alone
- Feelin’ Like A Million
- Gotta Get Into Something
- Got To Get Up
- Feed The Babies
- Pearl Cadillac
- When I’m Gone
- The Guitar Man
- Low Down Rolling Stone
- The Governor
- Don’t Wait Til Tomorrow
- Dirty Dishes Blues
- Highway 71 ( Bonus Track )
- Did Dat ( Bonus Track )