Now that Thanksgiving is just over a week away, we’ve officially entered holiday cocktail party season. If you’re hosting then it’s certainly time to restock your home bar with spirits staples.
However, one element of a good cocktail party now often gets overlooked—the music. These days it’s generally a Spotify channel that’s playing. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with that, I do think you can take your playlist to the next level. To help you out, I got Grammy Award-winning guitarist Gary Clark Jr. to give us some advice on crafting the perfect party soundtrack.
I expect him to name his toe-tapping cover of “Come Together” that he recorded with Junkie XL for the brand-new Justice League movie. His nearly three-year-old son is a fan of the track. “It’s the only thing he’s liked so far,” Clark says. “Which is great and hurts my feelings at the same time.”
But “if my song comes up on the playlist it’s getting skipped,” he sternly warns me. I try to argue that it should go on the playlist but he says it’s hard for him to hear to his own music, “cause I listen to it differently. It’s a little bit uncomfortable.” (If Clark’s not invited to your event, I do suggest you play the song.)
So what would he listen to? “If I’m throwing a cocktail party, I’m definitely putting on the new Keyon Harrold album, “The Mugician,”” he says. It’s the long-awaited second release from the jazz trumpeter who has played with a range of famous musicians.
Another new album Clark suggests listening to is “4eva Is a Mighty Long Time” from Big K.R.I.T. “I haven’t explored [it] yet but I’m excited to get into that. So, I probably throw that on.” Be warned, the fast-paced album has a number of tracks that may turn your cocktail party into a dance party.
If all else fails, Clark suggests old standbys from Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Beyoncé and Rihanna.
Guests to Clark’s house can expect great music but not a big selection of cocktails. “It’s serve yourself,” he jokes. Fair enough given that his signature drink is Jameson Irish Whiskey neat. “Sometimes if I want a little water, I’ll put some ice in it. Other than that, it’s from the bottle to the glass.”