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Guitar master and singer-songwriter Gary Clark Jr. brings his Texas blues to the Avila Beach Golf Resort on Sept. 17 

Four-time Grammy-winning musician Gary Clark Jr. is—in my book—a gritty, ultra cool retro bluesman and guitar star fusing old genres like blues, rock, and soul with elements of hip-hop. He has the same sort of juju Ben Harper had when he first came out of the gate. He embraces tradition but brings something new to it, too.

click to enlarge JIMI JUNIOR Gary Clark Jr.'s guitar work has been compared to everyone from Clapton to Hendrix, and on Sept. 17, he'll play the Avila Beach Golf Resort. - PHOTO COURTESY OF GARY CLARK JR.
  • Photo Courtesy Of Gary Clark Jr.
  • JIMI JUNIOR Gary Clark Jr.'s guitar work has been compared to everyone from Clapton to Hendrix, and on Sept. 17, he'll play the Avila Beach Golf Resort.

Clark, who hails from Texas music mecca Austin, began his recording career in 2001 working largely under the radar. He eventually signed to Warner Bros. Records a decade ago and came out with The Bright Lights EP, following in 2012 with his Warner Bros. full length, Blak and Blu, which finally saw Clark hitting the record charts.

The Story of Sonny Boy Slim followed in 2015, and his most recent, 2019's This Land, has cemented his reputation as a potent songwriter. That most recent album was inspired by a series of racist questions about his ownership of a 50-acre Texas horse ranch from one of his neighbors.

This Friday, Sept. 17, Clark will play the Avila Beach Golf Resort (6:30 p.m.; all ages; $40 general at tixr.com/groups/goodvibezpresents/events/gary-clark-jr-25571).

His guitar work has been compared to Hendrix and Clapton, and his stage charisma to Jack White, John Mayer, and Prince, but you'll also find elements of Muddy Waters, Childish Gambino, and Marvin Gaye. Clark's taken it all in and has released it with his own signature sound.

"I kind of got introduced to everything by watching Austin City Limits, which had Buddy Guy, B.B. King, Bonnie Raitt, Jimmie Vaughan, Robert Cray," Clark explained in press materials. "It all kind of hit me at once, and I just loved anything that sounded bluesy or rock 'n' roll that felt dangerous and had loud guitar solos up front. Ultimately, I figured out where it all came from, and I think the thing that really resonated with me was guys like Albert King and Freddie King—the three Kings," along with B.B.

All hail King Clark! The fourth king!

Want to see Clark but you don't have $40 to throw down? Do you still need your vaccination? Then check out Shots for Shows, which is offering free tickets for live music if you get your vaccination this Thursday, Sept. 16, at the Fremont Theater (4 to 8 p.m.).

The Fremont Theater Entertainment Group LLC, operators of the Fremont Theater are teaming up with SLO County Public Health and will be offering free tickets to Avila Beach Resort and Fremont Theater shows as incentives to all who come to the Fremont Theater that day for on-site immunizations for COVID-19. There will be a variety of tickets to choose from, distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. All immunizations will be managed and under the supervision of SLO County Public Health.

In addition to Gary Clark Jr., tickets to Chicano Batman, Dawes, Postmodern Jukebox, Pennywise, The Expendables, Reckless Kelly, Brett Young, Metalachi, and Lanco will be available while supplies last. Ticket choice will be on a first-come, first-served basis (come early for the widest selection) and no exchanges or refunds will be given. In the event of a show canceling, no new tickets will be issued.

And speaking of the Fremont, singer-songwriter and guitarist Tab Benoit plays a swampland jam on Tuesday, Sept. 21 (9 p.m.; all ages; $28 to $38 at fremontslo.com) with Big Chief Monk Boudreaux, Johnny Sansone, and Waylon Thibodeaux. Grammy-nominated Benoit has enjoyed a remarkable 30-plus year career as a soulful Delta swamp bluesman. This one's going to sizzle!

Surf and Saint

Vina Robles Amphitheatre has two hot shows this week starting on Saturday, Sept. 18, with The Beach Boys (7:30 p.m.; all ages; $54.50 to $104.50 at vinaroblesamphitheatre.com). Just to be clear, this version of The Beach Boys doesn't include Brian Wilson, Al Jardine, or David Marks, but it does include band co-founder and lyricist Mike Love, "who, along with longtime member Bruce Johnston, musical director Scott Totten, Brian Eichenberger, Christian Love, Tim Bonhomme, John Cowsill, Keith Hubacher, and Randy Leago continue the legacy of the iconic band," according to press materials.

Expect songs like "Surfin'," "Surfin' USA," "Surfer Girl," "Fun, Fun, Fun," "I Get Around," "California Girls," "Help Me Rhonda," "Barbara Ann," "Good Vibrations," "Wouldn't It Be Nice," "Rock and Roll Music," and "Kokomo."

click to enlarge DADDY'S HOME St. Vincent plays the Vina Robles Amphitheatre on Sept. 22, bringing to life her new album Daddy's Home. - PHOTO COURTESY OF ST. VINCENT
  • Photo Courtesy Of St. Vincent
  • DADDY'S HOME St. Vincent plays the Vina Robles Amphitheatre on Sept. 22, bringing to life her new album Daddy's Home.

St. Vincent plays Vina Robles as part of her Daddy's Home World Tour on Wednesday, Sept. 22 (7:30 p.m.; all ages; $39.50 to $55 at vinaroblesamphitheatre.com), with Spoon opening.

"The most talked-about album of 2021 will be brought to life across the U.S. this fall as St. Vincent takes Daddy's Home on the road for an extensive American tour," according to press materials.

Blending rock, jazz, and classic elements, St. Vincent creates pop music of the alternative variety.

Get phunky

Numbskull and Good Medicine brings Dumpstaphunk to The Siren next Thursday, Sept. 23 (7 p.m.; 21-and-older; $25 presale at eventbrite.com or $30 at the door).

click to enlarge NOLA BORN AND BRED Numbskull and Good Medicine brings New Orleans band Dumpstaphunk to The Siren on Sept. 23. - PHOTO COURTESY OF JEFF FARSAI
  • Photo Courtesy Of Jeff Farsai
  • NOLA BORN AND BRED Numbskull and Good Medicine brings New Orleans band Dumpstaphunk to The Siren on Sept. 23.

This amazing NOLA act "stands out amongst New Orleans' best, cementing themselves as one of the funkiest bands to ever arise from the Crescent City," press materials note. "Born on the Jazz and Heritage Festival stage, and descended from Neville and Meters family bloodlines, these soldiers of funk ignite a deep, gritty groove that dares listeners not to move."

click to enlarge FOLKWAYS San Francisco folk act Vetiver, featuring songwriter Andy Cabic, tours in support of Up On High at SLO Brew Rock on Sept. 23. - PHOTO COURTESY OF ALISSA ANDERSON
  • Photo Courtesy Of Alissa Anderson
  • FOLKWAYS San Francisco folk act Vetiver, featuring songwriter Andy Cabic, tours in support of Up On High at SLO Brew Rock on Sept. 23.

Divergent tangents

Over at SLO Brew Rock next Thursday, Sept. 23, check out Vetiver (7 p.m.; 18-and-older; $20 presale at ticketweb.com or $25 at the door) with Kasey Johansing opening.

Formed in San Francisco in 2002 by Andy Cabic and Otto Hauser, the folk band features Cabic's songwriting, which is "shaped and sustained by divergent tangents," according to press materials. "If he's not crafting a melancholy folk rock diamond in his Northern California studio, he's moving a dance floor with bossa nova and house DJ sets, or helping curate a compilation of Japanese city pop."

More music ...

This Thursday, Sept. 16, Burning, Bad and Cool will play a mix of soul, gospel, and Southern-fried classics at Puffer's of Pismo (6:30 to 8:30 p.m.; free). Expect songs by Sam Cooke and The Temptations, among others. On Sunday, Sept. 19, the Burning James All Stars returns to the Pourhouse (4 to 7 p.m.; free).

This Friday, Sept. 17, Concerts in the Plaza continues with roots, rock, and reggae favorites Resination (5 to 8 p.m.; all ages; free).

click to enlarge DEUX VOX Local sextet Soleffect plays the Pourhouse on Sept. 17, bring an evening of powerhouse rock and funk. - PHOTO COURTESY OF SOLEFFECT
  • Photo Courtesy Of Soleffect
  • DEUX VOX Local sextet Soleffect plays the Pourhouse on Sept. 17, bring an evening of powerhouse rock and funk.

Local sextet Soleffect plays the Pourhouse this Friday, Sept. 17 (7 to 10 p.m.; free). Their two female singers "intertwine their vocals to create a soulful and unique sound," according to their bio, and "the guitar, bass, trumpet, and drums are a powerhouse of rock and funk that will get you dancing all night long!"

Damon Castillo's all-star jazz group 41K plays the Port San Luis Lighthouse this Saturday, Sept. 18 (3 p.m.; all ages; $35 with a shuttle ride or $20 if you kayak or SUP in at my805tix.com). Δ

Contact Senior Staff Writer Glen Starkey at gstarkey@newtimesslo.com.

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