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Gary Clark Jr.: Tiny Desk Concert

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Gary Clark Jr. had good reason to sweat. The blues-rock singer and guitarist opted to play his first-ever Tiny Desk concert — in front of a huge crowd that warmed the room considerably — while clad in a thick knit cap and heavy jacket. Plus, he'd brought his young son on tour with him and had to contend with a traditional parenting dilemma: How do you bring your kid to the office and still get work done?

But once Clark and his formidable band got done cranking out three songs from this year's blistering This Land, he wasn't the only one in the room who needed to wipe away the sweat. Clark's set leaned toward some of This Land's softer sentiments — "When I'm Gone" is about missing his family on the road, while "Pearl Cadillac" exudes gratitude for his mother's sacrifices — leaving its more politically incendiary material for louder live shows. But these songs still roared with the assurance and force of a showman at the top of his game.

SET LIST

  • "What About Us"
  • "When I'm Gone"
  • "Pearl Cadillac"
  • MUSICIANS

    Gary Clark Jr.: lead vocals, guitar; Eric Zapata: guitar, vocals; Johnny Bradley: bass, vocals; Johnny Radelat: drums, vocals; Jon Deas: keys, vocals

    CREDITS

    Producers: Abby O'Neill, Kimani Oletu; Creative Director: Bob Boilen; Audio Engineers: Josh Rogosin, Patrick Boyd; Videographers: Morgan Noelle Smith, Kimani Oletu, CJ Riculan, Kara Frame; Associate Producer: Bobby Carter; Production Assistant: Adelaide Sandstrom; Photo: Amr Alfiky/NPR

    Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

    Stephen Thompson is a writer, editor and reviewer for NPR Music, where he speaks into any microphone that will have him and appears as a frequent panelist on All Songs Considered. Since 2010, Thompson has been a fixture on the NPR roundtable podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour, which he created and developed with NPR correspondent Linda Holmes. In 2008, he and Bob Boilen created the NPR Music video series Tiny Desk Concerts, in which musicians perform at Boilen's desk. (To be more specific, Thompson had the idea, which took seconds, while Boilen created the series, which took years. Thompson will insist upon equal billing until the day he dies.)