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Eric Clapton
Eric Clapton honors J.J. Cale with low-key style on 'The Breeze'
Eric Clapton honors J.J. Cale with low-key style on 'The Breeze'

Eric Clapton calls his new album of J.J. Cale songs an appreciation rather than a tribute, and that word choice gets at the appealingly modest vibe of this record. In spite of cameos by heavy-hitting guitar guys like Tom Petty, Mark Knopfler and John Mayer, “The Breeze: An Appreciation of JJ Cale” -- which honors the roots-music cult hero who died a year ago this month -- dispenses with the grandstanding that bogs down most tribute albums (and indeed many Clapton albums); it sounds more like the product of an impromptu jam session. That approach suits the low-key Cale, whose songs “Cocaine” and “After Midnight” became rock-radio staples after Clapton...

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