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Gary Clark Jr.

Whether heralded as the next great bluesman or a soul and rock extraordinaire, Gary Clark, Jr. has put in the work to achieve such accolades. Although the 29 year-old has only one nationally available full-length to his name, last year’s excellent Blak and Blu, he duked it out on the stages of Austin, Texas, way before he became a go-to guest guitarist for people like Mick Jagger and Stevie Wonder. Tonight, he’ll enjoy a little of the success he’s reaped so far.

Thu., Nov. 14, 8 p.m., 2013

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‘Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Guitar Festival’

Call him Slowhand, call him God, or merely call him one of the most vital guitar advocates of the past 50 years, but do not call Eric Clapton uninspired. Since 2000, the blues breaker has put out eight full-lengths (of varying quality) paying tribute to the guitar innovators who get him going. Now he’s continuing his tradition of paying it forward by spotlighting other six-string talents at his Crossroads Guitar Festival. Performers tonight and tomorrow include icons like B.B. King and Albert Lee, young bucks like Gary Clark Jr., Clapton’s contemporaries like Jeff Beck and many more.

Fri., April 12, 7:30 p.m.; Sat., April 13, 7:30 p.m., 2013

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Gary Clark Jr.+Kat Edmonson

You’ve probably been hearing loose talk about this Gary Clark Jr. character for a minute now, and the reason for this becomes apparent some 60 seconds into any of the Austin native’s songs. Commanding, vexing, and velvety as his voice is, it’s little more than an appetizer for the instrument through which he can truly speak volumes: his guitar, electric or acoustic. Check the exacting tonality and thrill to the sublimity of lithe, blues-steeped licks. Clark can imbue a five-minute stretch with an oil-slick rainbow of emotions and aspirations, and when he drops a match into that oil slick, watch out.

Wed., Nov. 7, 8:30 p.m., 2012

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Gary Clark Jr.+Givers+Alice Smith

As the folks at SPIN recently pointed out, young-gun bluesman Gary Clark Jr. is playing virtually every festival there is to play this summer, including Central Park’s SummerStage, where he’ll share the outdoor space with Lousiana’s Vampire Weekend-ish Givers and Alice Smith, a talented neo-soul lady who’s yet to find the audience she deserves. Sounds like a mini-festival unto itself.

Sat., July 28, 3 p.m., 2012

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MUSIC HENDRIX REDUX

Gary Clark Jr. as electric blues whippersnapper Sonny Blake was the best thing about John Sayles’s otherwise oversweetened slice of Southern cinematic sociomythology, Honeydripper. But it has taken another four years for the 27-year-old Austinite to really come into his own with a scorching set at last summer’s Crossroads Blues Festival in Chicago and the August release of a tight, promising teaser of an EP, Bright Lights. “You’re gonna know my name,” promises Clark in the alcohol-soaked title track before launching into a solo of Hendrixian intensity on his Epiphone Casino guitar. He’s just as comfortable with North Mississippi Hill Country stomps and Delta laments. Everyone gets a breather when Clark unfurls the occasional R&B slow jam, so take the opportunity to snag a cold one at this sure-to-be-packed showcase for the finest recent incarnation of a fading species.

Mon., Dec. 12, 10 p.m., 2011

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Danny Glover, Gary Clark in Honeydripper

Proprietor Pine Top Purvis (Danny Glover) has everything riding on having a break-the-bank weekend, the only chance he’s got to save his club. He’s counting on a big-draw appearance by radio star “Guitar Sam,” though it’s the appearance of a young drifter (Gary Clark Jr.) sporting a homemade ‘lectric ax that’ll prove unexpectedly serendipitous. It’s a sturdy enough ticking-timeclock premise, serving as a foundation from which to survey the black life of Harmony, Alabama, AD 1950, as Pine Top’s story touches on tent revivals, cotton fields, and domestic-and-mistress interplay. Writer/director John Sayles takes a relaxed approach, letting characters congeal, and Glover is the keystone in an ensemble of very human performances. But that same leisurely attitude becomes a problem when the plot starts demanding attention again—the twists of the film’s final section will feel excruciatingly inevitable to anyone who’s seen a movie before, and the payoff isn’t there. We’re supposedly seeing the ground zero of plugged-in blues—of rock ‘n’ roll. But when it’s time to recreate that flashpoint moment, the performance (by Clark) lacks charisma—Sayles makes it pretty tough to buy that “Good Rockin’ Tonight” never sounded like this before.