Gary Clark Jr.: All Or Nothing

Photos by Frank Maddocks Let It Be Gary Clark Jr. was ready to take a stand. When the Texas artist entered Arlyn Studios in downtown Austin to begin making This Land at the beginning of 2018, he wanted to get some things off his chest. Since the release of his last album in 2015, The Story of Sonny Boy Slim, Clark had, like the rest of us, been a witness to the greatest political and sociological shockwave to hit the United States since the Long Hot Summer of 1967. The Black Lives Matter movement, which first took root in 2014, had reached a crescendo after a raft of highly publicized killings of black Americans at the hands of police. From that followed the protests of NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick and other players, who, as a show of solidarity with the movement, opted to kneel during the playing of the National Anthem. And then there were the events in Charlottesville, the picturesque college town that ended up playing host to a white supremacist rally that resulted in the vehicular homicide of one protester and the injury of 40 others. There had been more, and set parenthetically within the election of Donald…

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