The backdrop for the Guitar Center Sessions is a high wall of guitars, of course, and it couldn’t be more fitting for Gary Clark Jr. The Austinite, who will appear on the DirecTV program Friday at 9 p.m. EST, has helped bring the electric guitar back into favor for a generation raised on hip-hop. His band’s performance of “Don’t Owe You a Thang,” from his 2011 Bright Lights EP, premiering here, is a “natural boogie” hat-tip of sorts to one of Clark’s favorites, the late houserocker Hound Dog Taylor.
“Gary Clark Jr has come along at just the right time to pick up the mantle of all the blues greats before him,” Sessions host Nic Harcourt tells Rolling Stone. “During filming he ripped through the set. It was an honor to work on an episode of Guitar Center Sessions that is helping reignite an interest in the blues genre.”
Clark, who is set to open dates for Kings of Leon on their 2014 tour, has been quickly embraced as an old-school-style guitar hero; he’s performed at Eric Clapton‘s Crossroads Guitar Festival, with the Rolling Stones and at a White House event honoring the legacy of the blues. But Clark’s 2012 debut LP, Blak and Blu, found the newcomer refusing to be cornered, roaming widely through psychedelic soul, Black Keys-style raunch and contemporary R&B. At 29, he’s got the accumulated knowledge of a music scholar twice his age, and a flow that makes it all seem perfectly unlearned.
Check out Gary Clark Jr.’s performance and other episodes of Guitar Center Sessions on Friday, November 22nd, at 9 p.m. EST on DirecTV’s Audience Network (channel 239).