Gary Clark Jr.'s new album Blak and Blue is his major-label debut, but the blues guitarist is hardly a newcomer. Clark made his first album at 17, and by then he'd already spent several years hanging out in the blues clubs of Austin, Texas.
One place in particular had a big influence on his growth as a player: Antone's Blues Club. It was there that Clark watched legends like Buddy Guy perform, and where he played some of his first shows after the club's owner took note of the precocious young guitarist's playing.
For Blak and Blue, Clark stepped outside his comfort zone and enlisted the help of outsiders for the first time, including producers Mike Elizondo and Rob Cavallo. Working in unfamiliar territory in the studio may have been a refreshing change for Clark — at this point in his career, he's been playing for so long that performing is clearly second nature to him.
"I love it. I love getting up there," he tells World Café host David Dye. "I'm comfortable — it's a place to kind of let go and really be myself."