There was a considerable "preamble" and high expectations before Gary Clark Jr. released his major label debut album, "Blak and Blu" in October of 2012. And the Austin, Texas singer, songwriter and guitar hero has largely lived up to them.
"Blak and Blu" debuted at No. 6 on the Billboard 200, to mostly rave reviews, and Clark has been touring steadily since. He won a Grammy Award for Best Traditional R&B Performance. a Blues Music Award for Contemporary Blues Male Artist of the Year and eight trophies at the Austin Music Awards in 2013 -- 12 years after the city had a Gary Clark Jr. Day for him. His music was used for the "Max Payne 3" video game and in a number of films and TV shows, and Clark himself appears in Jon Favreau's new movie "Chef."
Clark is understandably "excited" by his achievements, but he's keeping his perspective down to earth, too.
"I'm aware and I'm soaking it up, but mostly I'm just grateful," says Clark, 30, who sang in church and high school choirs and started playing guitar when he was 13. "I'm blessed. I'm very lucky. And I'm humbled by it.
"I just know I love playing music. It's something I've always wanted to do, and I'm doing it. That puts me on the spot, though, the pressure thing. Like I said, I'm aware of that every day, but I still feel fortunate."
Now, of course, the focus is on what's next. Clark is working on a new album, which may be out before the end of the year. He says has "some ideas for what I want to do," including more collaborations with other artists, and he's ready to prove that "Blak and Blu" was no flash in the pan.
"All I know is that this is what I've got," Clark explains. "I am what I am, and all I can do is what I'm capable of and basically be me and try to be the best I can be at it and try not to get too overwhelmed. Getting myself all worked up doesn't make anything easier, you know? I kind of go with it.
"It is what it is and it will be what it will be, and I hang on the best I can."
Gary Clark Jr.
Wednesday, July 9
Saint Andrews Hall, 431 E. Congress St., Detroit
Doors open at 7 p.m.
Tickets are $41.50
Call 313-961-6358 or visit www.saintandrewsdetroit.com.
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