The young Texas singer-guitarist hits the House of Blues at Showboat in Atlantic City on Saturday, July 30, as part of the Atlantic City Food & Wine Festival events.
ATLANTIC CITY — Like in past years, this year's Atlantic City Food Network Food & Wine Festival, being held throughout the resort, primarily at Caesars Entertainment properties (Harrah's Resort, Showboat/House of Blues, Caesars and Bally's) is not just simply about grub and cocktails, large crowds and cheesesteak champions.
The Blues, Brews & BBQ event at last year's fest — held inside the Music Hall at the House of Blues at Showboat, where it will again be held this Saturday, July 30, from 1-4pm — showcased the Food Network's Neelys and their scrumptious pulled-pork, ribs, and other BBQ sides and dishes, and featured a great live performance by Robert Cray — (his rendering of the American folk-blues standard "Sittin' on Top of the World" was a highlight) and his top-notch band (hence the "Blues" part of the event name).
John Popper, leader of the Blues Traveller band and one of the great harmonica players of our time, was initially going to be taking the place of Cray at this year's Blues, Brews and BBQ event.
However, a few weeks back, AC Weekly learned that Popper would not be performing and that Gary Clark Jr. would be taking his place on the House of Blues at Showboat Music Hall stage.
So, who is Gary Clark Jr. and what does he do? Well, although his name sounds like that of a Major League baseball player, the Austin, Texas resident has been a rising star on the blues scene in recent years.
Here are some quotes in praise of Clark and his music:
“Austin resident Gary Clark Jr., who may be the city’s next big music star flashed his blend of blues, soul and rock, mixing fluid, muscular guitar with rootsy bark or a falsetto croon” – The Wall Street Journal
“Austin’s own Gary Clark Jr. opened Rolling Stone’s second showcase with a potent electric-blues set at La Zona Rosa. The charismatic 27-year-old guitarist, whose instrumental skills earned him a spot at Eric Clapton’s Crossroads festival last year, tore through hot licks and eloquent solos with a three-piece backing band to help fill out his sound. He was a strong vocalist, too, breaking out a yearning Smokey Robinson-style falsetto for a love ballad called “Please Come Home.” — RollingStone.Com
“Warner Bros. has a virtuosic new act in Gary Clark Jr. This is blues-based rock with an eye toward a groove, and Clark effortlessly wields his guitar into and out of solos. — The Los Angeles Times
In an April issue of Rolling Stone, veteran music writer David Fricke noted that the 26-year-old singer-guitarist could be the future of the blues, writing: "It was Clark's deep, growling vocals and fat, gnarly guitar tone that resulted in his breakout gig: a slot at Eric Clapton's 2010 Crossroads festival."
Back in 2007, Clark's album Tribute was praised throughout the blues community — as well as his 110 release, a collection of originals recorded at home. He was being compared to Albert King, Albert Collins, and Freddie King and went on to share stages with legendary bluesmen such as Hubert Sumlin and James Cotton.
However, Clark is not your typical bluesman, and on his new EP, Bright Lights, being released by Warner Bros. Records Aug. 9, one can hear the pop and hip-hop influences in his music and especially his singing.
Click here for a (Quick Time format) video trailer for Bright Lights.
You can eat all the BBQ you want at the big event on Saturday ($65 per person), and pound down a few beers too if you should desire, but make sure you catch Gary Clark Jr.'s set, too — not just so that you can say you saw him before he hit the big time, but because the show is guaranteed to please.
Also, see videos of Clark below:
Visit Gary Clark Jr.'s Web site for more: garyclarkjr.com
"[Sonny Boy] drank a lot. And he had his own way of doing things. But he was a nice man and he was very good to me. ... He paid me $3 a day and I got paid every two weeks [for playing at his gigs].”
To find those juicy, soulful delights, one typically has to travel to southern New Jersey’s hinterlands, seeking out hidden, home-based operations often run out of buildings not much larger than a good-sized shed.
Do you hear that rumbling rolling in from out in the distance? No, it’s not the accompanying thunder from a series of midsummer thunderstorms. What you’re noticing, should you listen carefully, is the sound of the biggest food weekend on the calendar around these parts.
Last year’s Atlantic City Food & Wine Festival was good enough to earn a reputation as one of the top such events on the east coast.
Atlantic City's newest oyster bar at Bally's comes from the restaurateurs whose family has run two of the city's finest food establishments for more than a century.
This year’s theme was Boardwalk Empire and as the HBO series’ opening credits — bootlegged by Pernod-Ricard, to feature their bottles of Beefeater and Jameson washing up against Nucky Thompson’s wingtip spectators — flashed upon the stage of the Mahalia Jackson Theater, nominees and presenters in wide ties and suspenders, and tattoo-baring flapper dresses filed inside.
“Anytime you have some success, that’s a good thing,” Green says. “You never take that for granted. You have to appreciate it. You look at a lot of recording artists and their success was so fleeting. Anytime it works out for you, you have to hold on to that time because it goes quickly.”
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