If you happened to have watched Super Bowl LVI last night (February 13) – and paid any attention to the commercials during the game while doing so – you probably saw the latest of Budweiser's famous Clydesdale ads.
You may have even noticed the ad's soundtrack, a collage of alternately ethereal and powerful electric guitar work. Turns out, that guitar-driven soundtrack was authored by none other than Gary Clark Jr.
Directed by Chloé Zhao, the ad is set to a live version of Clark's 2012 track, "Numb," and his uniquely atmospheric take on "The Star-Spangled Banner."
If you missed it last night, you can give the ad a spin below.
“To tell a story of perseverance, hope, and friendship through the lens of the beloved Clydesdales really resonated with me," said Zhao – who won two Academy Awards for her 2020 film, Nomadland – of the ad in a statement.
Clark's most recent album was 2019's This Land, a powerful, genre-blending effort that he recorded in his native Austin, Texas.
"I went in to Arlyn Studios in Austin with this producer/engineer named Jacob Sciba, and he basically just let me freak out for a couple of months," Clark said of This Land's creation in a 2019 Guitar Player interview. "We tried a bunch of things – different tones, instrumentation and just trying to use the whole spectrum in the studio – we wanted to use all the colors.
"I started off doing everything by myself, and then I got a real drummer in there – a guy named Brannen Temple – as well as Jon Deas, a keyboard player from Austin," he continued. "Mike Elizondo and Alex Peterson [of the Peterson Brothers] played some bass, and I got Sheila E. to do some percussion stuff out in L.A., which was an amazing experience. Afterward, I’d go back and layer other things over what they’d added.
"So it wasn’t really like a band all out on the floor type of thing; it was a kind of like 'figure it out as we go,' just doing whatever fit the vibe of who we had playing on the track."
Jackson is an Associate Editor at GuitarWorld.com and GuitarPlayer.com. He’s been writing and editing stories about new gear, technique and guitar-driven music both old and new since 2014, and has also written extensively on the same topics for Guitar Player. Elsewhere, his album reviews and essays have appeared in Louder and Unrecorded. Though open to music of all kinds, his greatest love has always been indie, and everything that falls under its massive umbrella. To that end, you can find him on Twitter crowing about whatever great new guitar band you need to drop everything to hear right now.
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