Gary Clark Jr. Hits the Road in Battle-of-the-Sexes 'Numb' Video

Gnashing blues-rock from 2012's 'Blak and Blu'

Marc Hogan

Gary Clark Jr.'s gritty blues rock is in a long tradition that has been so exhaustively commercialized that in others' hands it often can be moribund. Last year's Essential album Blak and Blu left no doubt the Austin-based guitar-slinger was an exception. But that doesn't mean he shies away from his music's crucial lineage. The video for Blak and Blu's horn-blowing "Ain't Messin' Around" brimmed with Flower Power vibes. The black-and-white clip for the LP's slashing, scorching "Numb" explores two familiar ideas, the battle of the sexes and the image of a lone bluesman wailing away on his guitar in the country — all that's missing is Robert Johnson's mythical crossroads. In the clip (via NPR), Clark is feeling harried by his sometimes scantily clad lover, so he takes off in a Cadillac Fleetwood. Amp and ax go along for the ride. By the end, love is back in the air. All in all, a much healthier response than in, say, Jimi Hendrix classic "Hey Joe."

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