On Monday, Gary Clark Jr. joined Chris Stapleton and Bonnie Raitt in an on-air tribute to B.B. King at the Grammys, then spent the rest of the night celebrating his 32nd birthday.
On Tuesday, Clark returned home to tape an episode of “Artists Den,” a music television series that airs on PBS in the United States and internationally in a variety of markets including outlets in United Kingdom, Germany, Latin America, Australia and Japan. According to the “Artists Den” presenters who introduced Clark’s nearly two-hour set, show producers would have been happy to film in L.A. to accommodate Clark’s schedule, but it was important to the artist who’s spent the last several years carrying the torch for Austin music to film in his hometown at the club he recently helped resurrect.
Clark was loose and comfortable in the latest iteration of Antone’s, a space that has essentially become his Austin home base. He rattled the rafters with blistering guitar licks on signature hits like “Bright Lights, Big City” and “When My Train Pulls In.” He poured furious intensity into “The Healing,” the powerhouse title track from his 2015 album, and brought local soul maven Tameca Jones out to share the stage on the sexy soul number “Wings.”
In a somewhat odd choice, he took the set out on a subdued note, “sharing an intimate moment” with the crowd with an emotional rendition of the sensitive heart-breaker “Church.” He returned to play the love songs “Down to Ride” and “Stay” as an encore and the love for Austin’s hometown hero was definitely in the room, packed with fans who won free tickets to the show through an online lottery.
The Gary Clark Jr. episode of “Artists Den” will close out the show’s tenth anniversary season.