When last we checked in with our hero, Gary Clark Jr. had just released his iTunes Sessions EP and was about to play David Letterman. I'm still going to get a review of the iTunes Session written soon but in the meantime he has released a video for what might be my favorite track on his full length, major label debut Blak & Blu.
I first heard "Numb" when he played Nashville last year after his acclaimed matinee set at Bonnaroo. I didn't realize it was actually an old song, one he'd written for his independent (and seriously out of print) 110. The original version was a stripped, acoustic arrangement. Not anymore. He melted my face with a blistering, intense performance that had him playing some slash-and-burn slide guitar and a monster riff not dissimilar from The Beatles' "Come Together." I don't have video of the Nashville performance but there is video from Bonnaroo and you get a pretty good idea of what this song sounded like on stage last year.
The Blak & Blu version doesn't have as much of the slide mastery as what was on display on stage the first time I heard it but it is equally explosive, beefing up the monster riff while leaving some space between instruments. Good songs and ideas on were too often sanded down or slicked up on the album but that didn't happen to "Numb." There is plenty of grit, breathtaking guitar, and intensity. This is Clark at his best and that is a marvel to behold.
Shame on you if you still haven't heard Gary Clark Jr. It means you haven't been reading BlindedBySound and you might have bad taste in music. It could also mean you've been abused and insulated from great music by the rubbish being pushed by the powers that be. Join our rebel alliance and ye shall be saved. Gary Clark Jr. is the face of where it's at right now and this is one of the first songs you should hear if you haven't heard him yet. Do this thing, kids. You're welcome.