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Snapshots: Gary Clark Jr. @ Wolf Trap — 6/9/24

In March, blues rocker Gary Clark Jr. released JPEG Raw, his fourth studio album, via Warner Records! Gary’s on tour, and he performed recently at The Filene Center at Wolf Trap. Mark Raker was there to photograph the show.

The following article is adapted from a press release.

JPEG Raw signals a brave new world for Clark’s ever-expanding creative palette. The new music is dense and adventurous with a more cohesive synthesis of his eclectic musical universe. His samples, Thelonious Monk and Sonny Boy Williamson, decorate flourishes of African, world music, and even jazz while merging with rock, R&B, hip-hop and blues — familiar areas he has ventured before, this time with more unity forging a fresh new style. Clark’s lyrics are pointed, deeply personal, outspoken and socially conscious with occasional forays into rap and spoken word from Clark himself. The sonics are immersive, verging on modern grooveoriented psychedelia with hip-hop driven beats in verses giving way to anthemic choruses, rich with power-chording and wide fuzz riffage.

On June 9 at Wolf Trap, Gary dedicated about half of his show to JPEG Raw, performing songs like “Maktub,” “This Is Who We Are,” “Hyperwave,” and “Habits” — songs that break fresh ground defying categorization in the ever predictable music world. The co-written Stevie Wonder duet, “What About The Children,” feels like an immediate classic that could have lived on Innervisions or Talking Book if not for Clark’s fuzzed out riff and hip-hop pocket.

Watch Gary Clark Jr. perform “What About the Children” live at Soho Sessions on YouTube:

JPEG RAW is Clark’s first album since 2019’s critically lauded This Land, which became his third consecutive top 10 on the Billboard 200 chart and garnered three Grammy Awards, including Best Rock Song and Best Rock Performance (“This Land”) and Best Contemporary Blues Album (This Land). Clark’s first Grammy win was awarded in 2014 for Best Traditional R&B Performance (“Please Come Home”).

Since its release, the singer-songwriter has toured extensively and stretched his wings as an actor, playing American blues legend Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup in Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis, which received eight Academy Award nominations.

Here are some photos of Gary Clark Jr. performing at Wolf Trap on June 9, 2024. All pictures copyright and courtesy of Mark Raker.