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Preview: Gary Clark Jr. 

Noah Bonaparte Pais on the guitarist who comes to House of Blues Nov. 25

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Forget all the Stevie Ray fawning and "next Hendrix" talk. Gary Clark Jr.'s career gets a lot more interesting when you stop thinking of his potential as a poor man's rock legend and appreciate what he already has in hand on the majority of his full-length debut, Blak and Blu (Warner Bros.) — Lenny Kravitz's long-overdue talent debt, paid in full. While the 29-year-old singer/guitarist flaunts his incomparability ("I don't believe in competition/ Ain't nobody else like me around"), since emerging out of the Austin, Texas, blues enclave Antone's a decade ago as the world's weariest teenager, seemingly everyone else has raced to pin Clark's star to higher, brighter lights. It's not unlike what Kravitz, another sky's-the-limit talent whose writing lagged behind his playing and singing, encountered after 1989's Let Love Rule. Clark is already ahead of that curve — not to mention the flattened parabolas drawn by one-note ax grinders like Jonny Lang — purely on the basis of Blak and Blu's stylistic restlessness, which offers any number of avenues for his expression to escape: the roadhouse mashing of "Travis County," the tearing-up clown of "Please Come Home" and the liquid-blues tributaries of "When My Train Pulls In." It also means detours into diet hip-hop pop ("The Life"), colorless nu-soul ("Blak and Blu") and curled-lip rawk ("Glitter Ain't Gold"), the latter of which sounds like it was co-written by Kravitz circa Circus. But then the hammer falls on "Numb," and "Are You Gonna Go My Way" gets its answer: You can go your own way. Moeller Brothers open. Tickets $32 general admission, $75 balcony seating. — Noah Bonaparte Pais


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