Gary Clark Jr: This Land Review

It’s been eight years since Gary Clark Jr. stormed onto the scene with The Bright Lights EP and an epic performance at Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Guitar Festival. Clark released his debut LP, Blak and Blu, the following year and his sophomore effort, The Story of Sonny Boy Slim in 2015, which had more of a mixed reaction from the fan base. Now Clark Jr. returns four years later with This Land, which surprisingly boasts 15 tracks. 

The album begins with the title track, which is a politically charged anthem where Clark sings, “This land is mine,” in response to being racially profiled. It’s Clark’s most aggressive song to date and features the fiery guitar playing that we’ve come to expect from Gary. Like his previous work, This Land blends a multitude of styles from blues, rock, R&B, hip hop, soul, and even reggae on “Feeling Like A Million” and punk rock with “Gotta Get Something,” which features gritty, distorted vocals, and also has a “Travis County” feel to it. For those seeking more blues than the Story of Sonny Boy Slim, Clark delivers with the foot stomping blues of “The Governor.” The song is heard at the beginning and the end of the “This Land” music video. The album closer, “Dirty Dishes Blues” is another stripped down blues track.

One of the album’s standout tracks is certainly “Pearl Cadillac,” which sees Clark channel Prince. The track has a great vibe featuring Gary’s falsetto vocals and signature guitar tone on a solo that really elevates the song. Other standouts include “I Got My Eyes On You” with its alluring chorus and “Feed The Babies,” which features horns that compliment Gary’s falsetto vocals really well.

Once again, Gary Clark Jr. delivers an album with something for everybody. Clark is an artist who’s not afraid to take risks and won’t be confined to any specific genre and that deserves applause. It’s time to stop worrying about the genre Clark plays because at the end of the day it’s about enjoying the music. Will the listener enjoy what they hear on This Land? The answer is a resounding yes. Music is about connecting, it’s about feeling, and Clark makes the listener feel on this album. This Land features some of Clark’s strongest work to date. It’s an album with soul.

The Review: 9/10

Can’t Miss Tracks

– This Land
– Pearl Cadillac
– I Got My Eyes On You
– Feed The Babies
– When I’m Gone

The Big Hit

– Pearl Cadillac

Review by Pete Francis

Buy the album: Amazon | Amazon UK

Pete Francis

Pete Francis is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Blues Rock Review. Pete founded Blues Rock Review in 2010 because he felt there was a major void in how the blues rock genre was covered. Pete is the host of Blues Rock Weekly and a co-host on the Blues Rock Show.

7 thoughts on “Gary Clark Jr: This Land Review

  • Sorry, but this overly optimistic review reads like it was written by the record company. The eclectic mix of styles and genres fails to impress. There is absolutely no common thread to bind the songs. My first listen was like channel surfing late night TV I’m a BIG fan of his first two albums and the Live follow-up revisited the same material. This Land is a long 16 track album that turns into a scavenger hunt for something that will resonate with the listener’s taste. I received the album gratis as part of a live performance ticket package and I’m selling my tickets… I’m not paying $100 a seat to listen to Gary try to find himself.

  • I felt some of the same feelings as Paul did at first. I went to see him live and it totally changed my opinion. He played almost every song on the album. It was amazing. I agree that it is a mix of different styles and influences but i see it as Gary being himself. Closer to the Blak and Blu album.

  • Boring album. Been down with Gary since the Clapton gig, his studio albums leave a lot to be desired honestly. LOVE his live stuff though. I’m one of those cats that just wants him to play guitar man! I’ll pay $100 to see him live..but I’m definitely not paying to buy another album of him as Paul said “finding himself”.

  • Just opened my brand new vinyl copy of Gary Clark Jr. – This Land. What a waste of $20.00. As noted on the cover: “this land offers a rich window into the musical soul of Gary Clark jr. “ better close that window. This is not the blues. This is everyday pop crap.

  • Absolute Garbage !
    Racist crap best left to the race baiters in politics !
    Lost me as a listener with your divisive rhetoric.

    Why must you hang on to the hate ?

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