Review: Clark's derivative on full-length debut

STEVEN WINE Associated Press Published:

Gary Clark Jr., "Blak and Blu" (Warner Bros.)

The much-anticipated first full-length album from guitar wiz Gary Clark Jr. opens with ... a horn fanfare. That takes brass.

Clark has built a considerable reputation on the strength of his bluesy fretwork, but "Blak and Blu" is no guitar showcase. Instead, Clark engages in confusing genre hopping, with most of the 13 tunes disappointingly derivative.

He makes like Bruno Mars on "Ain't Messin' 'Round," The Black Keys on "Bright Lights," Prince on "Glitter Ain't Gold," Smokey Robinson on "Please Come Home," Jimi Hendrix on "Numb" and Chuck Berry on "Travis County." This is 68 minutes of chameleon rock with good guitar.

On the album's first verse Clark sings, "Ain't nobody else like me around." Alas, he's wrong: We've heard this all before.

CHECK OUT THIS TRACK: Clark does show off a terrific falsetto on "Please Come Home," which includes the album's best solo, 32 bars of wild guitar.