Watch Eric Gales perform the live blues guitar solo of the year on Gary Clark Jr’s When My Train Comes In

Gary Clark Jr and Eric Gales
Gary Clark Jr [left] is no slouch with the guitar but Gales has elevated blues-rock guitar to the next level (Image credit: Lisa Lake/Getty Images; Jeff Hahne/Getty Images)

To witness Eric Gales play electric guitar is to be in the presence of greatness. Everyone knows it. The fans know it. And the pros know it, too. Just ask Joe Bonamassa, who in 2019 hailed Gales as the best blues-rock guitarist in the world.

The evidence has been mounting for years now, but perhaps a recent show-closing moment from Gary Clark Jr’s set at the Steven Tanger Center in Greensboro, North Carolina, puts it beyond doubt.

Clark turns over the second half of an epic 11-minute jam to Gales, who provides a tour de force in lead guitar that showcases his frightening chops and expansive musical vocabulary. 

A standout track from Clark’s 2001 album, Worry No More, When My Train Comes In has got plenty of room for the band to jam on, and when it comes time for the solos, King Zapata from Clark’s band steps up to the plate first, setting the table for what’s to come. 

The whole jam is recommended watching. Clark’s voice was made for this material; slack-tempo, late-night blues. But if you’re in a hurry, fast-forward to the five-and-a-half-minute mark for a solo that will send you back to the practice room. 

It is one of Gales’ great gifts that it doesn’t matter whether it is his show, whether it’s a simple gear demo or if he’s holding court and playing guitar within the sterile confines of a convention centre; whatever comes out the speaker is art.

Next year will be massive for Gales as his new album, Crown, is scheduled for release through Mascot Label Group/Provogue on 28 January, with production courtesy of Joe Bonamassa and Josh Smith, whose recent credits include Joanna Connor and Joanne Shaw Taylor.

The first single from the album, I Want My Crown, was shared last month, and while it sees Gales and Bonamassa step into the ring for a bout of blues-rock pugilism, the guitar playing is definitely not Marquess of Queensberry Rules. You can check that out above and preorder Crown here.

Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars and guitar culture since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitar World. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.