Originally published on Fri June 13, 2014 9:16 am
Like many artists performing under the broad umbrella of "folk music" at this year's Newport Folk Festival, Gary Clark Jr. isn't settling inside any genre, let alone folk. Working off a template of bluesy rock, he infuses the gritty songs on his Bright Lights EP with elements of soul, pop and even reggae. Above all, he's a positively ferocious young guitarist, with a reputation as an up-and-comer poised for one of those 30-, 40-, even 50-year careers.
Still only 28, Clark has already collected a batch of Austin Music Awards and spent the better part of the past year rolling up momentum — standing out at not only blues festivals, but also crossing over to venues as unlikely as Bonnaroo and the White House. Don't be stunned if Clark blossoms into a next-generation genre-straddling blues icon in the next few years; he's already well on his way. Gary Clark Jr. performs here as part of the 2012 Newport Folk Festival, recorded live on Sunday, July 29 in Newport, R.I.