The new haze

I grew up on a handful of bands. My parents always liked Pink Floyd, Boston, Dire Straits, and John Mellencamp to name a few. But one almighty god of rock always stood out. The one, the only, Jimi Hendrix.

He had it all: trademark smoky vocals that perfectly complemented his impeccable feel for the guitar — not to mention his ‘forever-cool’ demeanor. He was a musical legend and I knew it, even as a young tyke. As a kid, guitar solos were always cool to me, but I believe his psychedelic blues was the start of true appreciation in other areas for me. It’s only a shame that he didn’t live longer to produce more music.

Lucky for me, I’ve recently started really sinking my teeth into a new artist who I’ve recently decided is the reincarnation of Jimi. Gary Clark Jr. has followed much the same musical path as Hendrix — although Clark Jr. has already lived a year longer than Hendrix — to the point where he is now performing in nearly every musical festival across the globe with the biggest names in the industry.

I had initially given Clark a try nearly two years ago when Rolling Stone magazine deemed him “Best Young Gun,” but somehow, I got bored with him pretty quickly.

Boy, was I wrong.

It wasn’t until November when I stumbled across a stellar Daytrotter session of Gary Clark Jr. that I finally took serious notice of him.

The first time I heard it, I thought I was listening to a lost Hendrix recording. No lie, it was that good. Clark Jr. employs the same fuzzy guitar that plays off his own smooth vocals that branded Hendrix to a T, and I don’t mind it a bit.

On the opening track, “Bright Lights,” Clark Jr. is most reminiscent of Hendrix. It is almost synonymous with “All Along The Watchtower” and I never dreamed that I would have the audacity to throw out that statement.

“Purple haze” is so two thousand and late (for the time being, at least). There’s a new haze in town and he’s taking the world by storm.

Basically, Gary Clark Jr. is the real deal — serious business. I’m anxiously awaiting to see if he’s going to make a pit stop in St. Louis during his summer tour so I can go to my own 21st century Woodstock with Clark Jr. at the helm.

So be sure to check out his new album “Blak and Blu,” and join my campaign to get him to tour in St. Louis. If you’ve got any questions, comments or concerns send them my way to [email protected] or on Twitter @thehippestcat.