Today, Eric Clapton has released I Still Do, through Bushbranch / Surfdog Records. Since his solo debut in 1970, this is his 23rd studio album including collaborative projects with the likes of B.B. King, JJ Cale, and an all-star cast on his previous studio album, 2014's The Breeze: An Appreciation of JJ Cale.
I Still Do is a calling card album of sorts, with Eric paying homage to brilliant songwriters with inspired performances. It's also an LP that taps into his gentle side, with soft acoustic tunes. There's lots of great slide playing, and fans of his electric guitar style will especially appreciate "Can't Let You Do It" and "Somebody's Knockin'."
Of the twelve tracks on I Still Do, only two are Clapton originals: "Spiral" and "Catch the Blues." The rest are a range of obscure cover songs from some familiar artists (Robert Johnson, JJ Cale, Bob Dylan) and some lesser known names (Leroy Carr, Skip James, Paul Brady).
The original new song "Spiral" shows Slowhand dialing up an infectious guitar riff and digging deep into emotional territory backed by a relaxed rhythm. The other new tune, "Catch The Blues," sets a jazzy vibe that might be a little too smooth for some rock fans. Clapton's music has always been rooted in classic blues, and his versions of Leroy Carr's "Alabama Woman Blues" and Robert Johnson's "Stones in My Passway" are fitting inclusions in Clapton's still-expanding repertoire.
I Still Do was produced by Glyn Johns and recorded at British Grove Studios (owned by guitarist Mark Knopfler) over a month's time in 2015. The album cover artwork was created by English artist Sir Peter Blake, who also helped to create the design for Clapton's 1991 hit live album 24 Nights and The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.
Band personnel on the album includes Henry Spinetti on drums, Dave Bronze on electric and double bass, Andy Fairweather Low on guitars and vocals, Paul Carrack on hammond organ and vocals, Chris Stainton on keyboards, Simon Climie on guitars and keyboards, Dirk Powell on accordion, mandolin, and vocals, Walt Richmond on keyboards, Ethan Johns on percussion, Michelle John and Sharon White on vocals, and Angelo Mysterioso on acoustic guitar and vocals.
Below you can watch an interview conducted by comedian Paul Whitehouse where Clapton and Glyn discuss the album's creative process, including clips of Eric in the studio:
With a 50+ year music career under his belt, Clapton has experimented with many forms of "rock" in various groups. I Still Do sounds and feels like a natural progression in the artist's career. Although there's a lack of originality in the songs selected for the LP, it nevertheless highlights his remarkable guitar style and passionate vocal delivery.
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