On his first solo record in five years, legendary guitarist Eric Clapton recruits the help of several well-known artists (including Sheryl Crow, former bandmate Steve Winwood, and Allman Brothers guitarist Derek Trucks), putting several originals alongside a majority of covers. While the albums puts together quite an effort over its fourteen tracks and is expertly mastered, it fails to deliver anything up to par with the emotional highs and lows seen in some of Clapton’s previous classics, and contains only a few small flashes of old Slowhand’s guitar-brilliancy.
There are a couple of tracks that do manage to capture the essence of Clapton; the dark, soulful opener “Travelin’ Alone,” the Sheryl Crow collaborative “Diamonds Made From Rain,” and a revamped and re-inspired cover of “Autumn Leaves.” But, the lowest part of the album comes towards the middle, with the cover of Fats Waller’s “My Very Good Friend The Milkman.” To be fair, it is well-played and the song probably made sense in its day. But Clapton should be thinking more progressively in this day and age, perhaps rewriting the song as “My Very Good Friend The DJ,” or at least something a little more relatable. Many die-hard Clapton and blues fans will surely enjoy this anticipated return, and Clapton has certainly returned to the roots of standards and the blues. But don’t necessarily count that as a good thing.
Siren Music Reviewer