The Bright Lights - EP
Precocious young guitarist Gary Clark Jr. graduated from Austin’s venerable juke joint circuit with the release of the Bright Lights EP, a tantalizingly brief four-track release for Warner Brothers that matches two hard charging, muscular blues rock workouts with a pair of understated acoustic recordings. Before the Bright Lights release Clark was best known for his star turn as an itinerant bluesman in John Sayle’s 2007 film Honeydripper, an imaginative reconstruction of the moment when Texas blues was transformed by the introduction of the electric guitar. Clark effectively channels the spirit of Honeydripper’s post-war blues milieu on Bright Lights’ title track, which devilishly borrows the central refrain of Jimmy Reed’s “Bright Lights, Big City” and yokes it to a crushingly distorted guitar riff that could easily have been conceived by latter day punk-blues darlings like Jack White or Dan Auerbach. It is Clark’s repeatedly demonstrated ability to effortlessly execute such unaffected fusions of contemporary influences and classic blues tropes that makes Bright Lights such a compelling listen.