"Ain't Messin 'Round" Released: September 18, 2012
"Numb" Released: October 2, 2012
Blak and Blu is the major-label debut studio album by American musician Gary Clark, Jr., released on October 22, 2012. The album touches on a wide variety of traditionally black music genres, including soul ("Please Come Home"), hip-hop/R&B ("The Life"), Chuck Berry-esque rock and roll ("Travis County"), and Clark's trademark, blues ("When My Train Pulls In", "Numb", "Next Door Neighbor Blues"). Blak and Blu netted Clark his first two Grammy Award nominations, one for Best Rock Song ("Ain't Messin Round") and the other for Best Traditional R&B Performance ("Please Come Home") which won. This marked the first time that an artist was nominated in both categories in the same year. It peaked at number six on the Billboard 200 album chart, and number one on the Blues Albums chart.
The album was awarded a 3.5 star rating by Rolling Stone and was listed at #27 on Rolling Stone's list of the top 50 albums of 2012, in which the author said "Clark's brain-frying guitar solos are more about noise nuance and phrasing than speed-trial note-spitting." Not all reviews were entirely positive, however. The Chicago Tribune gave the album a 2.5 out of 4 review, stating that the album lacked cohesiveness and consistency due to the wide variety of genres featured.
In 2013, Blak and Blu was nominated for a Blues Music Award in the 'Contemporary Blues Album' category.