Gary Clark Jr. plays the Quad Stage at the Newport Folk Festival.

Gary Clark Jr. plays the Quad Stage at the Newport Folk Festival.Erik Jacobs/Erik Jacobs for NPRhide caption

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Erik Jacobs/Erik Jacobs for NPR

Newport Folk Festival

Gary Clark Jr.: Newport Folk 2012

Like many artists performing under the broad umbrella of "folk music" at this year's Newport Folk Festival, Gary Clark Jr. isn't settling inside any genre, let alone folk. Working off a template of bluesy rock, he infuses the gritty songs on his Bright Lights EP with elements of soul, pop and even reggae. Above all, he's a positively ferocious young guitarist, with a reputation as an up-and-comer poised for one of those 30-, 40-, even 50-year careers.

Still only 28, Clark has already collected a batch of Austin Music Awards and spent the better part of the past year rolling up momentum — standing out at not only blues festivals, but also crossing over to venues as unlikely as Bonnaroo and the White House. Don't be stunned if Clark blossoms into a next-generation genre-straddling blues icon in the next few years; he's already well on his way. Gary Clark Jr. performs here as part of the 2012 Newport Folk Festival, recorded live on Sunday, July 29 in Newport, R.I.

Set List:

  • "When My Train Pulls In"
  • "Please Come Home"
  • "Bright Lights"
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