Earlier this month, Gary Clark Jr. released his second major-label studio LP, The Story of Sonny Boy Slim, a collection of tracks that find the versatile guitar virtuoso tackling a variety of genres like blues, acid rock, funk and, in the case of “Church,” gospel and folk. In this exclusive video, Clark reenters Austin, Texas’ Arlyn Studios, where the bulk of Sonny Boy Slim was recorded, to lay down this aching, soulful rendition of that meditative song.
Clark also stopped by Arlyn Studios to deliver a scorching take on his Sonny Boy Slim opener “The Healing.” In an interview with Rolling Stone, Clark praised the Austin recording studio and why it was important for him to record his new LP on his home turf. “[Arlyn] is a distinctive Austin studio with a great sound and great people,” the Austin native said. “It used to be the old Austin Opera House where Willie Nelson played during the Seventies. ”
After struggling to write music on the road while touring in support of his major-label debut, Blak and Blu, Clark returned to Austin with little more than basic song ideas. “I basically came in here with the bare minimum. First two weeks, I just banged around, sat on the drums, played bass,” he told Rolling Stone. “Making the record in Austin was special because I was back home. My sisters came and sang on tracks. I was able to really settle in and produce this album with focus by being in one place the whole time. Blak and Blu was done in different settings while I was in Los Angeles. Those collaborations were great, but this was just something different yet feeling familiar.”
Clark is back on the road now serving as Foo Fighters’ opening act — he joined the band onstage Friday in Phoenix to perform their Sonic Highways collaboration “What Did I Do?/God Is My Witness” — before breaking off on his own trek in support of The Story of Sonny Boy Slim, including a pair of gigs at his hometown Austin City Limits Festival in October.