Gary Clark Jr., an artist from Austin, Texas has released a new track entitled “Valley of Last Resort” which includes Argentine composer Gustavo Santaolla and features lyrics written by the legendary Paul Williams. Williams has written numerous songs for television shows such as “The Love Boat”, films such as The Muppets Christmas Carol. Williams also wrote songs for The Carpenters, with “Rainy Days And Mondays” and “We’ve Only Just Begun” both peaking at number two on the Billboard charts. Clark, who began playing guitar at age 12, has written, recorded and performed with some legends of music such as Williams, B.B. King, Jimmie Vaughan, Eric Clapton, Mick Jagger and Steve Winwood.
The song combines elements of blues, country and rock, which Clark is known for and also contains elements of Americana, reggae and salsa which was contributed by Santaolla. Different instruments such as bass drum, dobo, sweet acoustic and crunchy electric guitars, mandolin and organ all make up the instrumentation of the song. When the song ends it features the crunchy electric guitar playing over a mandolin solo while the other instruments play the chord progression of the verse.
Lyrically the song deals with multiple scenarios all with the same topic: about life mattering. One great example of this is the last line in the chorus which states “And the road ahead is narrow but fast / In the end, we’ll shout ‘life matters’ at last.” This is a powerful line relating to how we as humans should care a little more about ourselves and each other because life is different for everyone and before any of us see it coming it could end in a heartbeat. Another great example of this would be in the line “If regret was contagious, the world would be drowning in tears / Does the plague open hearts, open minds so the world finally hears?”
photo credit: Orlando Romero