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Gary Clark Jr. likes to keep exploring with his music
When he started making music as a teenager, Gary Clark Jr. says that "the fun for me was not really knowing what I was doing, and the trial and error that comes with that."
And that hasn't changed much since the Texas musician and actor became a major label recording act with two studio and one live albums to his credit.
"The main goal is to translate the sounds I hear that are swirling around in my head and get them to come out of the speakers sounding the same way," Clark, 32, says by phone from Los Angeles. "Discovering new things I can do as a musician, a singer, whatever, that's the most fun for me. And when you get in the studio with a group of guys who are very honest and have no problem telling you, 'Dude, that sucks,' it's good."
Clark hasn't heard that much since the world became aware of him early in this decade, and particularly since the release of his first worldwide album "Blak and Blu" in 2012. He followed that last fall with "The Story of Sonny Boy Slim" -- another critically acclaimed set that, like its predecessor, debuted in the Top 10 of the Billboard 200 -- and the title hearkens back to his childhood growing up in Austin.
"It's a combination of nicknames I was given -- Sonny Boy by my mother, Slim from a harmonica player in Austin," Clark recalls. "A few other guys called me Slim when I started out, and it kinda stuck."
After "Blak and Blu's" success there was some pressure on Clark to deliver another album quickly, but he actually took a bit of time working on "The STory of Sonny Boy Slim," fitting in studio sessions amidst a busy touring schedule. The album features plenty of the blues- and R&B-based rock that's Clark's stock in trade -- "Nothing felt like I was reaching or going for something," Clark says -- but he also worked to find new stylistic and even technical elements to incorporate into the songs.
"I'm all over the place musically when it comes to being at home and exploring stuff," Clark explains. "When I'm not playing shows I'm trying to figure out drum parts or playing bass or playing guitar and exploring stuff. And then I think to myself, 'Maybe I should get the guys in here.'
"It's just capturing those moments in the studio. That's pretty much what it was about on this (album), and what it's always about for me."
Gary Clark Jr.
Thursday, July 21. Doors open at 7 p.m.
The Fillmore Detroit, 2115 Woodward Ave.
Tickets are $35-$60.
Call 313-961-5451 or visit thefillmoredetroit.com.
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