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Preview: Gary Clark Jr.

Noah Bonaparte Pais on the guitarist who comes to House of Blues Nov. 25



Forget all the Stevie Ray fawning and "next Hendrix" talk. Gary Clark Jr.'s career gets a lot more interesting when you stop thinking of his potential as a poor man's rock legend and appreciate what he already has in hand on the majority of his full-length debut, Blak and Blu (Warner Bros.) — Lenny Kravitz's long-overdue talent debt, paid in full. While the 29-year-old singer/guitarist flaunts his incomparability ("I don't believe in competition/ Ain't nobody else like me around"), since emerging out of the Austin, Texas, blues enclave Antone's a decade ago as the world's weariest teenager, seemingly everyone else has raced to pin Clark's star to higher, brighter lights. It's not unlike what Kravitz, another sky's-the-limit talent whose writing lagged behind his playing and singing, encountered after 1989's Let Love Rule. Clark is already ahead of that curve — not to mention the flattened parabolas drawn by one-note ax grinders like Jonny Lang — purely on the basis of Blak and Blu's stylistic restlessness, which offers any number of avenues for his expression to escape: the roadhouse mashing of "Travis County," the tearing-up clown of "Please Come Home" and the liquid-blues tributaries of "When My Train Pulls In." It also means detours into diet hip-hop pop ("The Life"), colorless nu-soul ("Blak and Blu") and curled-lip rawk ("Glitter Ain't Gold"), the latter of which sounds like it was co-written by Kravitz circa Circus. But then the hammer falls on "Numb," and "Are You Gonna Go My Way" gets its answer: You can go your own way. Moeller Brothers open. Tickets $32 general admission, $75 balcony seating. — Noah Bonaparte Pais

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