3 Chords and the Truth With Gary Clark Jr.

Touted as the new Jimi Hendrix, this Texas guitarist talks of singing from his soul on his new album.

Gary Clark Jr. performs in New York City on Sept. 5, 2012. (D. Dipasupil/Getty Images Entertainment)

TR: As you blend those genres, is it difficult straddling those spheres?

GC: I’m most comfortable jumping into all of them instead of doing one thing. The common thread in all of it, though, is an element of blues. [A mentor] told me that the blues is three chords and the truth. You can change it up, but it’s about people giving you their heart and soul. The beat or instrumentation might be different, but it’s soul music; that’s what blues is to me.

TR: Amid all of the critical adulation you’ve received, including comparisons to Jimi Hendrix, are you living up to your own hype?

GC: I can’t answer yes or no and be 100 percent confident, but I’m going to lean toward the yes. I’m just playing shows the way I’ve been playing them and making folks happy.

Hillary Crosley is the New York bureau chief at The Root. Follow her on Twitter.