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JJ Cale & Eric Clapton - The Road to Escondido Review

by Zane Ewton

The Road to Escondido is the first outright collaboration between two famed guitar players who have been interlinked for 30 years. A mutual admiration between JJ Cale and Eric Clapton has influenced each others music over the years, to the point that it is hard to distinguish when one stops singing and the other stops.

Clapton's career has been well documented; he has earned 18 Grammy Awards and is the only triple inductee in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Cale's career hasn't been as stratospheric, but he is hailed as a critical darling and amazing songwriter. The duo both laughed their way to the bank on the heels of Clapton's hits with Cale's songs "After Midnight" and "Cocaine".

Escondido is full of Cale's songs, almost to the point of this being a Cale album with Clapton as simply a guest. That's not the case as Clapton's guitar is all over the place. A number of guests show up, including Taj Mahal, John Mayer, Derek Trucks, Albert Lee and the late Billy Preston.

The album is a smooth, moody ride through rock, the blues, country and folk. Cale's songs are the real highlights. He's never felt rushed to record in his career, with only 13 albums in 40 years. Cale only brings the cream of the crop.

Clapton and Cale also share production credits. The record is too smooth at times. A little more grit in the solos would have made the good moments fantastic.

As it stands, The Road to Escondido is the sound of two friends getting together to sing a few songs for fun. It just happens they are both highly skilled musicians with 40 years of making music behind them.

Like Clapton's collaboration with B.B. King a few years ago The Road to Escondido is a top notch release from some old favorites.

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