The weekly NPR dump of First Listen albums is out once again, and this Thursday, we're graced with an early stream of The Story of Sonny Boy Slim, the newest album from blues guitar virtuoso, Gary Clark Jr.
Over the past few months, we were introduced to the songs "Church," "Hold On," "Grinder" and "The Healing" off the forthcoming album, which is due out on September 11. Now, however, the album is available for your listening pleasure in its entirety.
Gary Clark Jr. is the album's title character as he admitted in the album announcement trailer. "Sonny Boy" is a name his mom gave him growing up and his friends would simply call him "Slim." These nicknames became inspiration for his latest album, which he said is all about "faith and hope ... 'Cause that's all we need."
This 13-track effort is the praised guitarist's sophomore album, following the Grammy nominated, Blak and Blu, which launched his career back in 2012. Clark wrote, produced and arranged the album; he even played most of the instrumentation with help from his sisters Shawn and Savannah Clark on backup vocals.
The Story of Sonny Boy Slim isn't just faith based in its lyrical content, it's also notably more based in gospel and R&B than Blak and Blu was. Don't worry, there are still some blistering guitar solos on here and classic blues riffs to jam to.
To get an idea for the slightly altered vibe on this album, look no farther than his appearance on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. Clark used the moment perfectly to launch some anticipation for this album and give fans as taste of what to expect as he built his song, "The Healing," from a grooving slow jam to a pounding guitar solo with an all out vocal wail from his sisters.
Listen to the album below via NPR and be on the lookout for a full tour schedule soon.