Rock legend Eric Clapton’s new album, The Breeze: An Appreciation of JJ Cale, is a heartfelt remembrance and tribute to his late friend.
Cale, an Oklahoma-born musician who wrote two of Clapton’s most enduring hits (“After Midnight” and “Cocaine”), passed away in July 2013. He was also the man behind such standards of the modern songbook as “Call Me the Breeze,” made famous by Lynyrd Skynyrd.
Along with being remembered for his songwriting, Clapton insists Cale was a laid-back guitar genius, too.
“He was happy to just be known as a songwriter,” Clapton told Rolling Stone. “But when I tried to play like him — it’s beyond most musicians. We get too heavy-handed. He had a touch that was sensitive and subtle.”
On top of naming the upcoming album The Breeze, Clapton recorded the iconic song as his project’s first single and filmed a heartwarming video to go with it. After hitching a ride with a sign that reads “Escondido” (Cale’s adopted hometown), Clapton eulogizes his friend as “a fantastic guy and a great musician. … He was my hero.”
Interspersed with footage of Cale, Clapton’s obvious sincerity will swell your heart.
The new album will be released Tuesday (July 29). Check out Clapton’s version of “Call Me the Breeze,” in memory of JJ Cale.