Gary Clark, Jr. // The Story of Sonny Boy Slim

Categories:  Music Reviews    Music
Wednesday, October 14th, 2015 at 9:00 AM
Gary Clark, Jr. // The Story of Sonny Boy Slim by Ben Speggen

Gary Clark, Jr.

The Story of Sonny Boy Slim

Warner Bros.

4/5 stars

Gary Clark, Jr.’s sophomore effort straddles – and at times stumbles along – the line between smooth production and raw intimacy, resulting in a delightfully more soulful follow-up to 2012’s groundbreaking Blak and Blu. Schizophrenic opener “The Healing” starts with street-corner blues, transitions to borderline hip-hop, and then gives way to catchy soul. It’s emblematic of the album’s shifts and the prodigious 31-year-old’s genre-blending nature. Follow-up track “Grinder” confirms that notion with fuzz-laden, pitch-bending, sonic searing chug. Back-porch folk anthem “Church” helps ground the album and exposes Clark’s depth. He’s still trying to figure it out, and that’s evident here. His lyrics are a distant second to his musicianship, but watching him evolve and test his limits (guitar-wise, there aren’t many) gives the album a genuine feel most evident on “Hold On.” That’s exactly what listeners should do for what’ll likely be the storied career of one of the best out there today. — Ben Speggen

Erie Reader: Vol. 6, No. 20
Now Available — Pick It Up Today

CURRENT

Now serving up good vibes on State Street

Fighting for change in our most vulnerable communities.

Running into a blazing building can be ‘terrifying,’ but some choose to do it, anyway. 

Here are three good opportunities to lighten up as the nights grow longer.

Dancing Wheels bring a world premiere to Mercyhurst.

IN THIS ISSUE

Now serving up good vibes on State Street

Fighting for change in our most vulnerable communities.

Running into a blazing building can be ‘terrifying,’ but some choose to do it, anyway. 

Here are three good opportunities to lighten up as the nights grow longer.

Dancing Wheels bring a world premiere to Mercyhurst.

Shapeshift With Me, relative to the band’s spectacular catalog as a whole, is certainly one of their less powerful studio albums.

Grate every road in downtown Erie all at once.

Some ‘multigrain’ bread has a little more protein than you’d like. 

Don’t just dream it. Be it!

If De Palmas trip down memory lane whets your appetite, come back to the museum for one of his most underrated movies a week later.