There's no denying that Gary Clark Jr. is one of the most talented young guitarists of his generation. He can settle into a Texas blues groove like he's been playing since he was a toddler, and when he channels Jimi Hendrix he makes it sound brand new. But he's also a 28-year-old guy who listens to contemporary hip-hop and R&B and wants to be able to connect to audiences his own age, which unfortunately makes for a bit of an identity crisis.
By trying to please all demographics here, Clark gives little sense of who he is. One minute he's doing grimy garage blues, the next he sounds like Stevie Ray Vaughan, and then he's on to some smooth neo-soul. Fortunately, he's got the skills to pull all of them off, but the production and approach are too all-over-the-place for the album to work as a whole. There are moments, though, when his R&B tendencies blend with his guitar heroics to create something genuinely new, but he needs to hook up with a visionary producer who can help him develop that further.
Top track: You Saved Me