Review Summary: Clapton returns in 2013 with some covers and 2 original numbers to a little success.
Eric Clapton is a blues-rock musician often ranked as one of the greatest guitarists to have lived with an undeniable ear for making a catchy tune and creating some beautiful and melodic solos. Songs such as Wonderful Tonight and Layla have influenced generations of musicians even including another blues-rock guitarist held in the highest regard (Joe Bonamassa). 2013 heralds Clapton's return to the music scene after a three year absence since the release of Clapton in 2010. This is not a Clapton album however and is instead Clapton covering a collection of songs he enjoys or that influenced him, with two original numbers slotted among these covers.
The covers themselves are fairly solid although could have been better. It is nice to hear a musician having some fun whilst recording and these note-for-note translations of old blues and rock numbers are very fun to hear coming from a revered and respected musician such as Clapton. The guitar work is as solid as one would expect from him despite the rather odd choices of songs to cover on here. Our Love Is Here To Stay closes this collection of tributes in a fairly boring fashion with little of the charisma and energy that Clapton is known for. He sounds a little tired on a few of these numbers as though age is finally starting to catch up with him particularly on the vocal side of things. The good thing about the covers is that the selection he chose were his favorites both from his childhood and his current adult life so there is at least a little variety to the tracks.
The two fresh efforts from Clapton himself are relatively tired numbers that lack any real power. There is an undeniable streak of emotion and joy been poured into Every Little Thing which feels more than at home among these relatively up beat numbers. Both of the songs are happy and fun tracks to listen to that definitely carry the signature Clapton style of highly melodic guitar playing that stands out, but they could have been done so much better. Also for those expecting to find some insanely awesome guitar soloing from Clapton they will be disappointed-whilst there are solos on here, they are not quite as strong nor as well written as on some of his better works. The solos here are purely to keep up appearances.
Overall this album is an interesting and thoroughly enjoyable release from Eric Clapton and has enough about it to keep the listener entertained. Sadly it feels as though Eric only has a few years left in him as a musician due to the songs at times sounding tired, but this was a fun addition to his discography. If you are a Clapton fan boy you will no doubt have picked it up for the fresh songs anyway, but if not still consider giving this a listen just to hear him pay homage to some of his influences.