When guitar god Gary Clark Jr. started getting noticed early this decade, he was hailed as everything from the second coming of Jimi Hendrix to the savior of the blues. But strolling into a corner suite at the Dream Midtown hotel recently without the instrument that gives him his rock-star powers, he looks more like a mere mortal — albeit a ridiculously hip one.

“When I first came out, there was all this buzz,” says Clark, 35, of the hype surrounding his major-label debut, 2010’s “The Bright Lights EP.” “I was in a 12-passenger van cruising through Arizona . . . on tour just happy to get some per diem and be able to eat. I was like, ‘You can say whatever you want.’ ”

After getting to share the stage with the Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton and B.B. King early in his career, Clark is once again feeling like a “person of interest” thanks to his latest album, “This Land,” which won raves after its release last month and earned him the coveted musical guest spot on “Saturday Night Live.” Now, having launched a US tour last weekend, the Austin, Texas native is gearing up for a Beacon Theatre takeover with shows on March 21, 22 and 23.

The new album is an eclectic and electric showcase of Clark’s talents, not just as a guitarist but as a singer and songwriter. (His desire to be seen as an all-around artist is one of the reasons why he doesn’t want to accessorize his predominantly gray outfit with a guitar for his photo shoot with The Post.)

“This Land” also finds Clark staking out fresh territory with a new political and social consciousness on tracks such as “What About Us,” “Feed the Babies” and “The Governor.” The searing, stomping title tune, which riffs on Woody Guthrie’s folk classic “This Land Is Your Land,” was inspired after a neighbor approached Clark at his 50-acre ranch in Kyle, Texas, and didn’t believe that the musician was the owner because he’s black.

“F - - k you, I’m America’s son/This is where I come from/This land is mine,” rages Clark on the song.

“It’s interesting that in 2019 we’re dealing with situations like that,” says Clark, whose 4-year-old son Zion had “fear in his eyes” while witnessing the racist incident. “Unfortunately that’s a reality that some people deal with. To work so hard for so many years and be in this place . . . I wanna be able to appreciate this place like anybody else.”

Being a family man now — he and his wife, Australian supermodel Nicole Trunfio, also have a daughter, Gia, 1 — made Clark think outside of his own personal world on “This Land.”

“When I was in my 20s, it was just me, and I could do whatever I wanted, and I didn’t care about nothing,” he says. “But now that I got something to be responsible for, it’s changed my whole view. So I gotta be conscious of how people are feeling in the world, what people want and what the temperature is, so I can teach my kids how to maneuver through it the best way that I know how.”

With a little help from his family, the Grammy winner stars in designer John Varvatos’ new “Indivisible” campaign promoting inclusivity and unity. “You have to support the cause, and my wife wanted some new family photos, so everybody won,” says Clark, who married Trunfio in between two weekends of Coachella gigs in 2016.

Clark with his wife, Nicole Trunfio, in 2017.
Clark with his wife, Nicole Trunfio, in 2017.SplashNews.com

It was Clark’s own parents — dad was a salesman, mom was an accountant — who gave him his first guitar for Christmas in 1996, when he was 12. “It was an Ibanez RX20, a black electric guitar,” he says. “My pops came around the corner and handed it to me, and I was hooked. I still have it. I don’t get rid of anything.”

Indeed, Clark also still has the old car that he croons about, in his best falsetto, on “Pearl Cadillac,” a Prince-esque slow jam on “This Land.” “It’s a ’94 Sedan DeVille,” he says. “It was the first car that I purchased.”

It’s safe to say, though, that Clark doesn’t have as many cars as he does hats, which have become his trademark accessory. “Everywhere I travel, I try and go pick up new ones,” he says. “I’ve got a lot — I don’t even know how many.”

But no doubt, Clark’s trusted guitars make up his most prized collection. “I won’t give you a number ’cause it’s embarrassing,” he says. “My favorites are my originals, the ones I’ve played for the longest … slept in the bed with when my girlfriend left me. Those are the ones that are more special to me. I got all kinds of them. I keep them in undisclosed locations across the world,” he says with a laugh.

In the spirit of B.B King and his treasured Lucille, Clark even has a name for one of his guitars: “That’s my red Epiphone Casino — I call it Cassie. You gotta name one of them. It’s, like, a tradition.”

Clark — who can also play the skins (“I wanna be a drummer in a band”) as well as some bass and keys — is still working on becoming even more of a guitar hero.

“I practice as much as I can,” he says. “I wake up in the morning like, ‘What can I learn today?’ I still love it, like the first day I got it.”


Clark’s guitar heroes:

Lonnie Johnson This late guitarist toured with the likes of Bessie Smith and Buddy Guy, while recording with such legends as Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong.

Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

1967, Memphis, Albert King
Albert King This Rock & Roll Hall of Famer, who passed away in 1992, is known as one of three “Kings of the Blues” (with B.B. King and Freddie King).

Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Hubert Sumlin Live In New York
Hubert Sumlin This member of Howlin’ Wolf’s band and Blues Hall of Famer was so respected that Mick Jagger and Keith Richards paid for his funeral in 2011.

Ebet Roberts/Redferns


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