SummerStage: Gary Clark Jr., Givers, Alice Smith

Saturday, July 28, 2012, 3:00 PM

Central Park, New York, NY


Rarely does an artist explode onto the music scene like 26-year-old singer-guitarist Gary Clark Jr. when he delivered his incendiary debut performance of his song “Bright Lights” at Eric Clapton’s 2010 Crossroads Guitar Festival. A rocking soul man for a new generation, he was weaned on John Lee Hooker and T-Bone Walker but fuses his deep blues influence with a love of classic hip-hop and contemporary soul. His voice weaves between a melodic lilt and a seasoned blues howl with his guitar licks dancing and dodging between and behind the beat as if the essence of Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre loom in his head by way of the Mississippi Delta.

GIVERS is a band made up of five friends from Lafayette, Louisiana who united for one night of improvised music at the request of a friend. Within the band’s first few shows they would cross paths with Dirty Projectors, who asked them to join the band on tour. Since then, GIVERS have been catching the attention of critics and fans alike. Named the “Best of What’s Next” by PASTE Magazine and a “Band to Watch” by Stereogum, their first full length album In Light, is a collection filled with joy, buoyed by constantly evolving rhythms, warmed by spangling guitars, and illuminated by melodic altruism.

Alice Smith, NYC-bred singer/songwriter/producer, known for her 4-octave vocal range and stunning stage presence, made a name for herself with her critically-acclaimed debut, For Lovers, Dreamers & Me. At the time, her artful blend of bluesy, soulful vocals and mid-tempo grooves garnered a passionate following, while Vibe Magazine gushed that her sound “evoke[s] Fiona Apple’s finest material.” Her single, “Dream” was nominated for a Grammy Award in the Best Urban/Alternative category. With notes of ‘60s pop, Burt Bacharach-style melodies and an intoxicating element of attitude, Smith’s upcoming collection has something for die-hard followers and new fans alike. Her sound has evolved, adding lush, orchestral arrangements and multi-hued melodies.