Today marks the release of the first studio album from the Austin blues prodigy: Gary Clark Jr. After releasing a slew of EP’s on his own imprint Hotwire Unlimited, GCJ worked with producers Mike Elizondo (Dr. Dre, Eminem, Fiona Apple, etc.) and Rob Cavallo (the A&R savant behind Green Day’s success) for the Warner Bros. album. Titled “Blak and Blu,” the fifteen track LP was mastered at Sterling by Chief Mastering Engineer Ted Jensen in early September .
For the Delta Blues purists, “Devil Got My Woman” this is not. GCJ’s vocals dwell in a register more high and polished than the classic shouter; the texture of his delivery is more syrupy than gruff, think Marvin Gaye over Muddy Waters. While the influence of post-WWII electric blues rock is undeniable, the album’s most distinct quality is its genre cross-pollination. Some tracks are of the unadulterated Rock & Roll variety (“When My Train Pulls In” and “Third Stone From The Sun/If You Love Me Like You Say”); others draw more heavily on the R&B tradition (“The Life” and “Please Come Home”). While Gary Clark Jr. might not have sold his soul to the devil at the crossroads of Highway 61 and 49, his album is a thorough investigation into the many incarnations of the modern blues tradition in contemporary music.
Check out a picture of the room they mastered in, as well as a live video of GCJ performing at Austin City Limits earlier this month:
Gary Clark Jr. Performing “Ain’t Messin’ ‘Round”:
Ted Jensen’s Mastering Room: