Texas blues guitar ace Gary Clark Jr. exploded onto the national scene in 2012 with major-label debut “Blak and Blue” and then ascended into the stratosphere a couple years later with the release of the sublime two-disc set “Live.” Clark is following in the footsteps of all-time greats like Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan and takes another step up the career ladder with sophomore platter “The Story of Sonny Boy Slim.”
The new record is pretty much a one-man show, as Clark wrote, produced, arranged and played most of the instruments on the 13-track, 54-minute release. Clark continues to evolve sonically with his intoxicating mix of roots rock, contemporary soul and hip-hop, but (wisely) he never strays too far from his blues base.
“The Story of Sonny Boy Slim” gets off to a flying start with “The Healing” and “Grinder,” and Clark later delivers the goods on “Church,” “Cold Blooded,” “Wings,” “Stay” and sprawling set closer “Down to Ride.” To Clark’s credit, the momentum never wanes — even when the record is closing in on the one-hour mark — and that’s a testament to the man’s prodigious abilities. Highly recommended. (Jeffrey Sisk)