The Breeze: An Appreciation of J.J. Cale by Eric Clapton and Friends

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J.J. Cale was a singer/songwriter/guitarist who pioneered what became known as the “Tulsa sound” and had a huge influence on Eric Clapton. Clapton said that throughout the 70s he was basically just trying to make records that sounded like Cale’s records.

When Cale died in 2013 Clapton thought that a fitting tribute would be to record an album of Cale’s songs with some of their friends. InThe Breeze Clapton captures Cale’s sound while serving as a wonderful host for his many guest vocalists and guitarists. Clapton allows his guests to shine on many of the songs while supplying the backing band and singing or playing along. The consummate blues guitarist, Clapton readily hangs back to allow others to pay their tribute to his friend, stepping up to add his voice when appropriate.

While many tribute albums can seem a bit schizophrenic as each artist puts their own stamp on the songs, The Breeze works as a coherent album because Clapton is the glue that holds it all together. This album, and much of Clapton’s recent career, typify not only a high level of professionalism and musicianship but also show what a spirit of hospitality looks like in a veteran musician. (Bushbranch Records)

About the Author

Robert J. Keeley is professor of education at Calvin College and director of distance learning at Calvin Seminary.