This Land

Album: This Land (2019)

Songfacts®:

  • This blend of hip-hop and blues finds Gary Clark Jr. serving up a searing indictment of the racism and closed-mindedness he has experienced in America. The singer told American Songwriter magazine that having spent his "whole life being black in Texas," he has experienced all kinds of discrimination, both blatant and subtle. With the current political climate he just feels he's had enough. "Everyone just wants to be treated like a human being," Clark said.
  • Clark said he had Woody Guthrie's iconic protest song "This Land Is Your Land" in mind when he penned this tune.

    "It's one of the first songs we learn, and we sing it together," Clark said. "It's like the Pledge of Allegiance … And when you're kids, everybody's together. You don't see differences until you get older, and older people influence you to think about other people a certain way. I just want to get back to singing that song like we were kids again, you know?"

    The song samples Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings' R&B version of "This Land Is Your Land," recorded by the group in 2005.
  • A specific incident was the impetus for this song. Clark bought a 50-acre ranch near Austin, where he moved in with his wife and two young children. When he met his neighbor for the first time, the guy refused to believe that Clark owned the place, and was disrespectful to him in front of his kids. This blatant display of racism enraged Clark and led him to write "This Land."
  • The song's music video was filmed in Austin, Texas and directed by the British-born Savanah Leaf. She was originally a volleyball player who competed for Great Britain at the 2012 Summer Olympics, before becoming a filmmaker and photographer.
  • Clark's disillusion on this song is tempered by hope. "I walk the streets of any city if I'm playing a show - it's love, it's hugs from all races," he told Rolling Stone. "There's love here. We just can't let people take that away."
  • Joined by The Roots, Clark performed this at the Grammy Awards in 2020, where it won for Best Rock Performance and Best Rock Song. This Land also took home Best Contemporary Blues Album.

Comments: 1

  • Williefields,jr. from Chicago,il.I saw Gary Clark, Jr. perform @ MillenniumPk. bluesFest for the first time in my life (knowing or hearing who he was) an I was completely amazed at his level of talent an workmanship, very professional--i thankYou Mr. Clark, Jr. an band for such an awesome performance! plz return to my city of Chicago
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