I'm still flying high from seeing Gary Clark Jr. in Nashville last month, just a few short hours after he played a set at Bonnaroo in nearby Manchester, TN.
Clark played songs from his fantastic Bright Lights EP along with some covers at both shows that day, and also brought out a song that may wind up on next album, the first full length record he'll make for Warner Brothers.
The new song is actually not new at all as "Numb" dates back to his out-of-print (and damn near impossible to find) album 110 but it's been dramatically re-worked. It's fascinating to compare the early version of the song to the way it sounds now, and I wish it was easier for fans to do so (good luck with that). The 110 version is a spare, acoustic track with some great strumming and slide playing while the live version played at Bonnaroo and later in Nashville is a roaring, riff-heavy rocker. It's not fair to the initial incarnation to dismiss it as a demo because it works quite well in its stripped down state but the song has clearly evolved and become much more forceful.
Clark's upcoming record is very much an Event Record for me and it's a damn shame the great record stores of yesterday don't exist in the number they used to, when fans could go out at midnight and buy an album the instant it was released. You can bet I'd have been dragging ass into work the next morning, having stayed up the night before to buy and listen to it. I guess I'll have to settle for pre-ordering it on Amazon and hitting the refresh button on my phone for delivery confirmation. Jack White is right: not very romantic at all. No matter; with songs like "Numb," this record is going to be worth the wait.