Radio Active

Get To Know A GRAMMY Nominee – Gary Clark Jr.

Congratulations! You survived the holidays and opened your eyes to greet a new year! The new year brings the promise of clean slates, new beginnings and of course, ubiquitous awards ceremonies. Speaking of which:

The 56th Annual GRAMMY Awards are coming up on Jan. 26 to honor scores of singers, songwriters, musicians, producers, engineers, etc. for their accomplishments in the music industry.

This week’s column marks the beginning of a series that I’ve coined “Get To Know A 2014 GRAMMY Nominee” to prime the faithful readers of on some noteworthy artists that have been bestowed with various GRAMMY nods. There are a lot of well-known and beloved names on this year’s list of nominees. Therefore the aim of this series is to bring some familiarity to the not-so-familiar nominees.

If you’re already up on your low-key/below-the-radar GRAMMY nominees, slow clap for you – everyone else, read on and discover your new favorite artists.

First up, we’ve got singer and guitarist, Gary Clark Jr. whom you may know, but I am not sure if it’s well enough, given his talent level:

Photo Credit: Frank Maddocks

Photo Credit: Frank Maddocks

Don’t let the rugged good looks and style fool you – Gary Clark Jr. will melt your face with his signature fuzz-laced riffs and his flawless melodic execution. He deftly weaves his influences that draw from blues, jazz, soul, country and even hip hop into a tapestry that will make you feel like you can see the sounds when you close your eyes. As if that isn’t enough to take in, he can hold down both mid-range and falsetto vocals, kind of like a one-man Earth, Wind & Fire but without the horn section.

So, when you’ve been playing playing guitar since you were just 12 years-old and mentored by veterans of the Austin, TX rock scene, recorded with Alicia Keys and Sheryl Crow, performed alongside the likes of B.B. King and Buddy Guy at the Crossroads Guitar Festival, starred in a movie with Danny Glover, and sang the blues for President Obama at the White House all by the age of 29, the natural progression is to become the first artist in history to be nominated for Best Rock Song and Best Traditional R&B Performance GRAMMYs in the same year. Total no-brainer. Yet, despite having an impressive array of accomplishments at a young age, Gary Clark Jr. still hasn’t reached his peak. When the New York Times calls you “the next Hendrix” those are some massive shoes to fill.

There was only one Jimi, but I do believe Gary Clark Jr. has what it takes to be something akin to the Hendrix of my generation in terms of his sound. Here’s to his continued growth and success, with many more GRAMMY nominations and accolades in the years to come.

Check out live performances of his GRAMMY-nominated songs below:

“Please Come Home” (Best Traditional R&B Performance)

“Ain’t Messin’ Around” (Best Rock Song)

Both songs appear on his 2012 major-label debut “Blak and Blue” – definitely show your support if you like what you hear, and I strongly encourage you to fall down the GCJ rabbit hole on YouTube. It’s glorious and you’ll never want to leave. If you still need more, you can visit his website, like him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.

Congratulations to Gary Clark Jr. on the historical GRAMMY props, and best of luck on Jan. 26th!