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Gary Clark Jr. (Courtesy of the artist)

First Watch: Gary Clark Jr., 'Numb'

May 8, 2013

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Bob Boilen

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In the seven months since Gary Clark, Jr. released his major label debut, Blak and Blu, he's played for the President at the White House with Mick Jagger and blues legend B.B. King, opened for The Rolling Stones and played with Alicia Keys and The Roots. He cleaned up at his home town Austin Music Awards, winning eight awards, including musician and album of the year. If you haven't paid attention to this guy yet, here's a perfect time to play catch up: Clark has a new video for the song "Numb," my favorite track off Blak and Blu.

On "Numb," Gary Clark, Jr. channels the frenzied spirit of Jimi Hendrix. The guitar tone is clawing and gnarly, and his singing style isn't far from how Hendrix sounded when he sang "Voodoo Chile" on Electric Ladyland, one of my favorite albums.

The black and white video tells a familiar tale of the down side of love. There's a brilliant scene that I'm sure is a fantasy for many: hauling an electric guitar, amp and all, out to the side of a road, Clark leans up against a Cadillac Fleetwood, cranks it up and sings the blues. It's a perfect cure for that ailment if I've ever seen one.

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