Something Else! sneak peek: Eric Clapton, “Call Me The Breeze” (2014)

Who better, really, to kick off a new tribute album to J.J. Cale than his long-time champion Eric Clapton? “Call Me The Breeze,” in fact, may be the most important Cale song not already associated with a terrific Clapton cover — featured, as it was, most famously on Lynyrd Skynyrd’s 1974 album Second Helping.

Clapton plays it straight, channeling the laid-back 1970s-stoner style he employed to such great effect when he was regularly diving into the Cale songbook for gems like “After Midnight” and “Cocaine.” There was always a stillness at the center of Cale’s work, and Clapton captures it once more here.

A long-awaited album-length collaboration followed in 2006, with Road to Escondido, before Cale succumbed to heart failure last year at the age of 74. That moved Clapton to gather a few pals together for another exploration of Cale’s rough-hewn gifts on the aptly titled The Breeze: An Appreciation of J.J. Cale.

Due on July 29, 2014 and credited to Eric Clapton and Friends, the set finds Mark Knopfler (“Someday”), John Mayer (“Magnolia”), Tom Petty (“The Old Man and Me”) and Willie Nelson (“Starbound”) offering spirited updates, as well. Clapton also works with Petty on two songs (“Rock and Roll Records” and “I Got The Same Old Blues”), with Mayer on two more (“Lies” and “Don’t Wait”), with Nelson on “Songbird” and with Knopfler on “Train to Nowhere”.

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso has explored music for USA Today, All About Jazz and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the nation by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Nick is now associate editor of Ultimate Classic Rock.
Nick DeRiso
  • DaveP

    I am encouraged that Clapton (at least on this first song released) has stayed true to JJ Cale’s style. I was somewhat disappointed in The Road to Escondido because it did not stay true to its intent. Clapton in many interviews said he wanted to make an album with Cale in Cale’s style. Cale’s style of recording is typically very raw and underproduced almost sounding like a demo. This style suited Cale’s music perfectly. Unfortunately, on The Road to.. Clapton allowed producer Simon Climie to overproduce the album the way he does on all his collaborations with Clapton. It sounded too finished, too crisp and too slick and definitely not like a Cale album. So while hearing Cale and Clapton doing a Clapton album was interesting, it did not end up turning out as Clapton had intended.