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Gary Clark Jr. Memphis 2016

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Gary Clark Jr. Memphis 2016

Timothy Simpson

Blues lives on in the form of Gary Clark Jr. The Austin, TX native is the fruition of the seeds planted by the likes of B.B., Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughn and Buddy Guy. In his second visit to Memphis within a year, Clark sold out Minglewood Hall and brought along the Muddy Magnolias to celebrate their tour. 

Muddy Magnolias

The Muddy Magnolias, hailing from Mississippi and Brooklyn, NY, are composed of two front-women, not something that is common especially in the blues-rock world. Kallie North and Jessy Wilson were among the top unsigned artists in 2014, according to Rolling Stone magazine, and have emerged into their own genre. The duo served as a filling appetizer to a more well-known act, but soon enough it wouldn’t surprise me to see The Muddy Magnolias headlining shows of their own. Their self-titled EP is available now for streaming on Spotify. Smooth, groovy band to be looking for this year. 

Gary Clark Jr.

If the Muddy Magnolias were an appetizer, Clark served as a dinner and desert combo. Solid enough bass lines to fill you up and get you going, but sweet guitar fillers to make you want more. Performing his most well-known hit first, “Bright Lights,” Clark donned his signature wide-brimmed fedora, his eyes barely visible. But the crowd was into it, they paid good money to see the lower portion of this man’s face. It almost felt like he was honoring Jimi Hendrix by the way he was playing. He even brought out a cream white strat for some songs.

Now, it’s easy to say Clark is similar to Hendrix. He’s a black man playing blues who wears kind of silly clothes. But Clark is something more entirely. He fuses effect pedals to spread out the room with his guitar licks, but at the same time he carries the crowd along with him, bouncing back and forth to the rhythm. Clark tells stories in his songs, stories that blues greats before him once told. Stories of heartache, being high, being low. So let it be known, Clark is a profound storyteller who is also blessed with playing guitar. I highly recommend giving his newest album, “The Story of Sonny Boy Slim,” a listen. Let him take you away, and in his own words, you’re gonna know his name by the end of the night.

- Stone Pannell