Gary Clark Jr. may be the future of blues. His sound stretches widely covering various genres so squeezing him into the compacted box of one genre isn’t fair, but it’s clear blues is in his soul. This month’s YOK artist has been making music for years although he’s fairly new to the mainstream eye. His talent supersedes his young 28 years enough for an invitation to play at the White House. On February 21, GCJ played at the “In Performance at the White House: Red, White and Blues” alongside legends like B.B.King, Buddy Guy and Mick Jagger. And sharing a joke with the president turned this into a dream gig of a lifetime for the guitar player and singer. Read more…
You Oughta Know
A one man show. All our newest You Oughta Know artist, Gary Clark Jr., needs is his guitar. During his live set for VH1, GCJ performs “Things Are Changin’” on a stool with one mic, one guitar. There’s no band or gimmicks, just Gary. Add this to the five reasons You Oughta Know Gary. Read more…
VH1 has partnered with our friends at FIAT to present a twist on our You Oughta Know franchise. Usually, we use the You Oughta Know program to introduce you to musical artists on the rise, but since we’re excited to be attending the SCOPE International Contemporary Art Show in Miami next month, we’d like to introduce you to a few visual artists who we think You Oughta Know, too.
Meet Patrick Martinez, an artist whose work in the neon medium has earned him a highly coveted slot at this year’s SCOPE Art Show. As he explained to us, his work is heavily inspired by music. “I’ve been listening to rap music since I was a teenager, so [the musical influence] has always kind of been there. I started using it in my work a few years ago. If the lyric or phrase kind of resonates with me, it speaks to people and the current events that are going on, I find the opportunity to link the two.”
SCOPE Miami 2012 runs from December 4-9. For more SCOPE updates, you can head over to YouOughtaKnow.VH1.com, and also check out our You Oughta Know SCOPE playlist (featuring Hugh Hayden and Brent Birnbaum). Read our complete press release below.
Allow us to introduce you to the guy Entertainment Weekly was referring to when the magazine wrote, “Every generation has its chosen one and right now, this is Clark’s time.” His name is Gary Clark Jr. You’ll soon understand why he’s November’s You Oughta Know artist. Labeling him as a soul mixed with jazz mixed with blues artist is the obvious choice. Truth is, the 28-year-old guitarist and singer reaches across the aisle touching the crevices of rock, country, R&B and hip-hop. The chill soul crooner grew up in Austin, TX where he first fondled with a guitar at the age of 12. He honed his craft, gaining local attention by playing in small pubs in his hometown. His journey has brought him far from the handful of fans he once played for. Blak and Blu, his first major label project with Warner Bros. debuted at No. 6 on the Billboard 200 charts. And its all an upward climb from there. You oughta know Gary Clark Jr. for several reasons, but let’s start with five.
1. Already compared to the greatest
Jimi Hendrix is the greatest guitarist of all time. Not just any artist can be mentioned in the same breath as him. Yet, Gary Clark Jr. has already been compared to the legend. His performance at this year’s Austin City Limits Music Festival blew us away with his ease, the comfort, the mastery over his cherry red Epiphone Casino guitar (which he named Cassie, by the way). He makes playing the guitar look as natural as breathing. Living up to the G.O.A.T. guitarist’s comparisons is certainly a daunting task. Something tells us GCJ has it in the bag.
2. Come on homie we major…as in ESPN major
It’s not every day ESPN calls to ask if they can feature an artist’s music for its three-day NFL draft telecast. GCJ along with one of hip-hop’s greatest emcees, Nas, received those calls. In April GCJ’s “Bright Lights,” with an added verse from Nas, was one of the upbeat bluesy tracks played during the channel’s commercial break package. “Bright lights, big city going to my head” was the perfect backdrop for a football themed commercial.
3. Paint the White House Blak and Blu
The ultimate swerve of the year is when you can (truthfully) say, “I’ve played for the President and First Lady, yo!” GCJ probably didn’t use those exact words, but he definitely performed at the White House for the Red, White and Blues event for Mr. and Mrs. Obama. Alongside legends like B.B. King, Buddy Guy and Jeff Beck he fit right in. His email signature should include: “I played at the White House. ‘Nough said.”
4. He “Ain’t Messin ‘Round” with showing you how to do this, son
GCJ told us he did “Ain’t Messin ‘Round” because no one would expect a fast, uptempo song from a blues artist. The country-rock mix is a testament to his versatility as an artist. It’s light, it’s fun. Directed by Noble Jones, the video has the same party-like-a-rockstar/soul-singer vibe. Not to mention his sexy cherry red guitar makes a cameo. The lead single sounds like something the popular doo-wop groups of the ’50s and ’60s would make, only with a modern twist. It glides through your eardrums as your body dances on cue. Just stop messin’ ’round and let loose to this song. You know you want to.
5. Never too big to be checked by mama
How does GCJ stay grounded with all the buzz surrounding him as this burgeoning artist? “My mom still calls me and keeps me in check,” he tells us in an interview (more from that soon). He’ll never be so huge of a star that his mom won’t give him a reality check that brings him back down to earth. “And then if she feels I’m tripping she’ll tell me that she’ll call my grandma.” The power of a “tell you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear” mom and grandma will keep this talented musician humble.
Stay tuned for more exclusive interviews and live performances from our newest YOK artist. Welcome to the family, Gary!
[Photo: Getty Images]
A bit of sad news and a hopeful promise to begin your morning: You Oughta Know standouts, VH1 Unplugged veterans, Grammy winning and just generally beloved Americana duo, The Civil Wars, announced last night in a note posted to their Facebook page that they have called off the remainder of their tour. The duo cited “internal discord and irreconcilable differences of ambition” as the reason for the change of plans, but were sure to assure that whatever hiccup they’re suffering right now will not be their end: “Our sincere hope is to have new music for you in 2013,” they write, giving us reason to believe that things are civil still. They plan on reimbursing tickets, and have generously promised to “do their best” to cover any non-refundable service charges or travel reservations fans have already made.
Below, their note. And then a video of the duo performing “Barton Hollow” Unplugged — some sugar to down the sad news.
VH1 You Oughta Know artist Delta Rae has been working the campaign trail in support of President Barack Obama; in addition to encouraging young people in their homestate of North Carolina to go vote early, they played an event hosted by Michelle Obama just a few short weeks ago where, according to singer Brittany Holljes, everyone in the band received “full Mama Bear hugs” from the First Lady. However, now that it’s Election Day, Delta Rae wants you to get out and vote, regardless of your party affiliation.
“Voting is very important, especially in an election like this,” Brittany explained to our own VH1 Top 20 Video Countdown host Jim Shearer in Napa, California last week, just moments after performing a scorching set at the Live In The Vineyard festival. “It’s close!”
Her brother, Delta Rae singer/keyboardist Eric Holljes, weighed in next. “I think it’s important for everybody, no matter your age, to have some foresight and think about where we’re going to be in 30 years. The decision we make right now is going to impact that, so I hope everybody out there goes out to vote.”
Hype surrounding an artist is one thing. That artist living up to the hype is quite another. Singer and guitarist Gary Clark Jr. certainly rises to the occasion. The 28-year-old jazz and blues singer whose music mixes country and Rock ‘N Roll plays the guitar with such precision and skill he was an easy choice for VH1′s November You Oughta Know artist. His new album, Blak and Blu, is like honey drizzled into a warm cup of tea. It soothes. Through and through it’s real feel good music. Read more…
Like dropping a cherry on top of her whirlwind release week, Taylor Swift visited Katie Couric at ABC News on Friday night to announce that she is taking her record breaking new album Red out on tour. The tour will kick-off on March 13 (13 being Taylor’s lucky number) in Omaha, Nebraska, and will hit 45 North American cities for a total of 58 shows. And then — good news to great news! — she announced that she’ll be taking VH1 You Oughta Know‘s Ed Sheeran with her.
“Happy to announce that I am special guest on @taylorswift13′s tour of North America next year, cannot wait,” tweeted Ed after the good news broke. The young singer-song writer from England puts on a truly impressive show, and gets along famously with Taylor. If they can make a casual kitchen floor duet sound this good, can you imagine what will happen when they bring their Red duet “Everything Has Changed” to a big stage? We suspect you won’t want to miss it.
Tickets go on sale November 16th, will you be there?
You Oughta Know artists Delta Rae‘s label debut Carry The Fire is hewn mostly from blues or country-rock tradition, but a close listen suggests many and diverse influences. When asked about this, Eric Hölljes began ticking them off — “passionate, vocal heavy, folk-pop, rock” — before catching himself. It’s “terrible,” he apologized, “because I’ve pretty much said most genres in that description. We have a lot of influences.” The breadth of their influences might make for long-winded answers during interviews, but our ear suggests there’s otherwise nothing so terrible about it. Sometimes it means following up a song that rings with gospel influence with another that sounds straight rock-n-roll; other times that means hearing a Kanye West song and then being inspired to write “Bottom of the River,” a song that Brittany Hölljes insists has Kanye “written all over it.” Read more…
We’ve been rocking out to Delta Rae‘s You Oughta Know Live session all month, and we still can’t get enough! And “Bottom Of The River” feels especially appropriate today, as the sky’s are a fall grey and the sidewalks littered with leaves because Halloween is just around the corner, and this song is certain to get you in the mood. But not in the kitschy and purely seasonal way a song like “Monster Mash” might. Rather, Delta Rae will draw you in with their vocal harmonies and then chill you to the bones with their creeping stomps and the clanking of chains in a trashcan. And by the time they get around to offering, “Hold my hand, oh baby it’s a long way down,” you might just want to!
You can download an MP3 of Delta Rae’s chilling “Bottom Of The River” performance here on VH1 Tuner for free! But be quick — the link expires at midnight on November 1st and you don’t want to miss out.
UPDATE (11/1/12): Sorry, this download has expired!