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Cherry Pop

Title - 'Gary Clark Jr. Live' (Warner Bros.)
Artist - Gary Clark Jr.

For those not in the know, Gary Clark, Jr. is a US Grammy-winning guitarist - and actor - based in Austin, Texas. Once described as being the future of Texas blues, Clark's résumé has included sharing the stage with an incredible array of rock and roll legends over the years.

Influenced by blues, jazz, soul and at times even country, he's also managed to incorporate bouts of hip-hop into his soulful music. Indeed, with Clark's musical trademarks being his extremely fuzzy guitar sound and smooth vocal style, there are not many people within the business that have never crossed his path re: either live in concert, on a CD or simply across the airwaves.

Live is the 2CD, and highly-anticipated first live release from the guitar sensation and boy, is it a doozy! Kicking things off with the 1941 Robert Petway cover, 'Catfish Blues,' Clark instantly proves he's one of the first and best blues artists of this current era. At an astounding 8 minutes in length, it is like no other opening live track that I've ever encountered - on CD or in the flesh.

But therein lies the secret to this 2CD live album, as the entire set is simply compiled from various gigs from his most recent tour. Ergo, this might not have always been the tour opener. Either way, every track is an incredible sampling of both his guitar and vocal abilities which enables the listener to understand who he is and what his message is almost instantly.

After the long opener next comes 'Next Door Neighbor Blues,' 'Travis County,' an equally as long, and powerhaus, 'When My Train Pulls In,' and both 'Don't Owe You A Thang' and the B.B. King cover of 'Three O'Clock Blues.' The man who had won a Blues Music Award in the 'Contemporary Blues Male Artist of the Year' category earlier this year continues onwards with the mellow 'Things Are Changin,' the distortedly breathtaking 'Numb,' the fun pop bounce of 'Ain't Messin' Around,' and then a rousing Albert Collins cover of 'If Trouble Was Money.'

But for me, and I know a lot of other music lovers, the highlight of this double CD comes in the form of the 10 minute, blistering 'Third Stone From The Sun/If You Love Me Like You Say.' Combining the two guitar giants, Jimi Hendrix and Albert Collins, Clark Jr. brings forth a track that has to only be appreciated in all its glory live - one imagines. Sure the sound of it is mesmerizing, but to have seen it live must have felt like all your hopes and dreams were coming true at the same time.

The second disc continues onwards with the high pitch wonderment of 'Please Come Home,' 'Blak And Blu,' and then comes to a close with a near 9 minutes long 'Bright Lights' ("You're gonna know my name by the end of the night"), and the simply delicious, simply divine finger work and soulful vocals of the show closing, 'In the Evening (When the Sun Goes Down).'