Grammy Award-winning singer, songwriter and virtuoso guitarist Gary Clark Jr. came into Pittsburgh last night to tour his acclaimed record, The Story of Sonny Boy Slim . As Warner Brothers states, “The Story of Sonny Boy Slim is the uncanny evolution of an artist embracing his roots with a rarified grace, style, and an inextinguishable passion which reflects his vision as a songwriter, groove master, and the vocal force of nature he has become, while his guitar virtuosity already speaks (quite voluminously) for itself”.
A true test to his talent, The Story of Sonny Boy Slim was written, produced, arranged by Clark, who also plays most of the instruments, with assistance from his long-time live soundman, Bharath “Cheex” Ramanat and Jason Sciba. Backing vocals were provided by his sisters Shawn and Savannah Clark. The album was recorded by Ramanath and Sciba.
The young Texan, Clark, started off with a slow easy jam and then launched into “Bright Lights” to get the crowd warmed up to a night full of incredible tone and texture coming from a six string. Stage AE in Pittsburgh was packed and Clark looked and acted very inspired by the sight of everyone pumped to hear him play. His next numbers were “Travis County” and “Next Door Neighbor News”, keeping with the straight blues vibe. A few songs later in the set he played what many feel could become a classic, “When My Train Pulls In”, and the night continued with a very blues tradition feel, leaving his more “modern” work to take a backseat (setlist here). To watch Clark play is to witness a man at one with his instrument. Like his pre-concert music of Prince, the man can play many things and styles, but he has true mastery in blues guitar, as Prince did with funk. Akin to watching Clapton. Clark may be a living legend and the crazy thing is that it is all just starting for him. Having him play Stage AE, and the last time in town, Mr. Smalls, may be looked back at in the future as crazy impossible, like Bruce or The Police playing The Decade. The man is destined for bigger and greater things and it is a purely emotional experience to watch the man play. Hopefully, he won’t wait a few years again before he comes back to a town that certainly loves him.
all photos © 2016 AWeldingphoto