As far as tribute albums go, this one can be a bit precise at times. Usually, the idea is to hear songs reinterpreted or, at the very least, in the style and voice of the person making the tribute. Clapton’s latest effort, an “appreciation” of J.J. Cale, sticks, at times, too closely to the script. Despite this, the album is solidly produced; the collaborations with John Mayer, Tom Petty, Willie Nelson and others are effective and Clapton is consistently good. In terms of emotional content, “Lies” and “Don’t Wait” — two of the John Mayer tracks — deliver nicely. “Train to Nowhere” rambles nicely along, with Mark Knopfler and Don White contributing. While this may be a bit of a boutique album, given the theme, it’s nevertheless a pleasant record, useful for the collector and general listener.
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