One Track Mind: Gary Clark Jr., “If Trouble Was Money” from Live (2014)

The intensity of Gary Clark Jr.’s Telecaster playing here is only matched by the intensity of his piercing eyes, as he dives all the way to the bottom of Albert Collins’ “If Trouble Was Money.” You watch in no small wonder at the way songs like this continue to resonate, in particular in the hands of such a present, committed performer.

Collins’ words, so filled with regret and devastated acceptance, still ring true in these tough economic times. Meanwhile, Clark — one of the most exciting figures in blues right now — finds crunchy new grit in that very old groove, animating it with a visceral danger that conveys a distinctively modern sense of outrage.

“If Trouble Was Money” is our second advance taste of Live, due on September 23, 2014 via Warner Bros. This marks Clark’s initial concert recording, and his first double-album release.

Elsewhere, he offers covers of tracks by Lowell Fulson ‘(“Three O’ Clock Blues”) and Jimi Hendrix (“Third Stone from the Sun”), along with a full plate of fresh-cooked originals like the previously sampled “When My Train Pulls In.” Clark later returns to the Collins discography, combining “If You Love Me Like You Say” with that classic Hendrix cut.

Nick DeRiso

Over a 30-year career, Nick DeRiso has also explored music for USA Today, All About Jazz, Ultimate Classic Rock and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the nation by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Contact him at nderiso@somethingelsereviews.com.