Gary Clark Jr. opens up about his critically acclaimed sophomore album “The Story of Sonny Boy Slim.” The Austin-Texas based blues guitarist and singer-songwriter speaks about his writing process, his musical evolution and success in a wide-ranging interview.
After his breakthrough success with his debut album, ‘Blak and Blu’ the Austin, Texas-based blues artist continues to draw notice. His new album, ‘The Story of Sonny Boy Slim,’ was just released to nearly universal critical acclaim. Much like The Weeknd has done for the genre of R&B — dominating the charts this year with a handful of No. 1 hits including the summer smash hit ‘Can’t Feel My Face,’ so too, Gary Clark, Jr. is pushing the envelope with the blues genre and bringing the music to a new and wider audience.
He spoke with Billboard.com about his writing process for the new album, saying, “I started working on the album in mid-2013. Just kind of on-and -off between touring, just kind of get home for a minute, quiet down, reflect, process, and express. Everything from singing into my phone to wandering around my house with an acoustic guitar, playing piano on an MPC — doing whatever, just trying to put ideas down when I can.”
Asked about the themes of the new album, Clark said, “I think to be home for so long, and be around family and walk up and down the same streets that I used to, I was really inspired by that, and started to write about being home.”
He continued, saying, “It became very personal. Definitely the setting — being able to walk from the studio to the house to the bar/venue, I was very much home. Kicked a lot of ideas.”
Asked what inspired the title, Gary Clark Jr. said that it derived from a nickname, saying, “I didn’t really think about it until late in life, but my mom used to call me Sonny Boy from time to time, and I thought that was pretty cool after thinking about some of my favorite artists — Sonny Boy Williamson, and all the blues guys. I was thinking, maybe she put me on this path that neither of us were aware of.”
And what a path it’s been thus far. In the course of just a few years he’s gone from being the darling of the music festivals circuit and a mainstay of a variety of music blogs to now finding a mainstream audience. All this without watering down the blues which, truthfully don’t take to dilution.
You can see the full interview with Billboard here and watch some of Gary Clark Jr.’s recent television performances below!