Gary Clark Jr. is setting the record straight.
Gary Clark Jr.’s “Words + Music” Audible Original lauches today on Thursday, May 20, and we’ve got an exclusive clip for your listening pleasure. In the audio excerpt, Clark clears the air about the meaning behind “This Land” after headlines about a racially charged altercation with a neighbor.
“So “This Land,” it’s been said that this song is about a neighbor, this racist neighbor, and it’s not about that,” Clark explains in the clip. ” But “This Land” is about my experience as a whole. If you listen to all the songs, it’s about everything that I’ve gone through in this land, in this world.”
Clark goes on the explain that there was an incident with his neighbor, but that the title’s meaning is much deeper.
“The only thing that happened is like, my neighbor said some foul shit to me, because I told him that his donkey was on my yard. And it turned into this crazy thing of like “Racist Neighbor!” And this was like a headline to sell an album, but it’s not that fu**ing serious. It doesn’t have anything to do with a neighbor.”
“It’s about, being pulled over for speeding allegedly and why do I have six cops having a gun to my head?” Clark questioned, before continuing. “For being a black man in a Cadillac. That’s what that’s about. From coming home from a gig. That’s what “This Land” is about. “This Land” is about why does my fine ass girlfriend get to jaywalk across the street? But then if a cop knows me and I’m jaywalking to take my guitar across the way because I’m going to another gig and he’s gonna call me out on a megaphone to say, ‘Gary Clark, don’t you walk across that street.’ But my girlfriend was just over here, you just watched her walk across the street. So what is that? You’re simply calling me out on things.”
The Texas guitarist goes on to describe a painful experience from his adolescent years, when the kids he thought were his friends began to reject him.
“Why is it when I was growin up the kids that were cool with me, their parents were like they can’t rock with me no more. What is that about? That’s what “This Land” is about So that whole neighbor situation was nothing. I’m not out here making noise. I’m not crazy. I play my music. I present it. But like, I had one day where there was some controversy in my life and it turned into this whole thing like, ‘This neighbor!’ It’s got nothing to do with him. Try driving down the street to your house and going five miles over the speed limit and you then get the flashlight and guns on you. What is that about? That’s “This Land.”
It definitely sounds like he has faced his share of racism, whether it was from a neighbor or not!
If you’re not already familiar with Gary Clark Jr, we can tell you that before his first major-label album even debuted, the music world had already labeled him the rightful torchbearer of the blues. In his new Audible Original, Deep Soul Lowdown, the soft-spoken Texas guitar hero unpacks the gravity (and limitations) of such towering expectations as he recounts his astonishing life journey from teenage phenomenon to inheritor of the very mantle of his mentors.
Combining intimate storytelling with seven of his most powerful tracks, including “When My Train Pulls In,” “Bright Lights,” and “This Land,” Clark reveals how an artist, firmly rooted in American musical tradition, has also succeeded in carving out his own, unique path forward. Listen to the progression of a modern-day legend whose electrifying talent is matched only by his distinct authenticity.