With Austin playing home to a blues club as legendary as Antone’s, it was only a matter of time before the next Austin blues icon emerged. Based on the past decade, the mantle of blues legends has been passed to the newly prolific Gary Clark Jr. After getting discovered by Clifford Antone while in his teens, Clark Jr. has been a regular at the establishment that launched the careers of Jimmie and Stevie Ray Vaughan. Clark Jr. himself has notched gigs with Jimmie Vaughan, as well as playing shows with several stars of the Texas rock and roll scene.
As of late, Clark Jr. has risen to new heights of success by releasing a couple of self-produced independent albums and Bright Lights, the 2011 EP that marked his major-label debut. 2010 brought Clark Jr. to the national stage when he played at the star-studded Crossroads Guitar Festival with the likes of B.B. King, Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood, and a host of other guitar gods.
Clark Jr.’s sound itself is heavily influenced by the greats as well, most notably Jimi Hendrix and John Lee Hooker. It’s hard to hear a song like “Don’t Owe You A Thang” without hearing echoes of blues men past. The single that shares the name of the Bright Lights album will appeal to those fond of the riff-heavy blues rock of the The Black Keys. Yet Clark Jr. isn’t boxed into just blues, as recent efforts have displayed his penchant for more soulful sounds, as well as tinges of R&B.
If you aren’t convinced that Clark Jr. is an act worth checking out, how about some fun facts? In 2001, Austin’s mayor declared May 3rd “Gary Clark Jr. Day.” Clark Jr. was only 17 at the time, but his fame had already put him in the company of Christopher Columbus and Sir James Thanksgiving, both famous namesakes for holidays. Also, Clark Jr. was named “Best Young Gun” in Rolling Stone‘s 2011 Best of Rock issue. Pretty good for a guy whose style encompasses the best of the “old guns” of blues and rock.
Now that you can impress your friends with trivia tidbits about Clark Jr., you should go to his official ACL aftershow at Antone’s and pester concertgoers with your knowledge. To help you in this goal, we’re giving away a FREE pair of tickets to one lucky person that clicks “I like it” on the event page. And since it’s an official aftershow, you know you’re getting the guaranteed quality of an ACL sanctioned event. While you could always hazard going to a dangerous underground aftershow, you never really know what could be in those knockoffs. Probably arsenic or something. So check out the real deal and win some tickets to see the rising star of blues on September 16th.