Any time Eric Clapton releases an album there is a lot of anticipation and excitement. Clapton’s life continues to evolve and so does his recording career. An album, interpreted as a mirror image of a current life situation is a common occurrence. The one factor drives us to feel the way we do is our life stories and the daily developments that go along with it. Clapton is no different; with the exception of the fact, the he is a legendary iconic figure in the world of music.
Back Home is a personal statement for Clapton. The warmth and positive vibe of this album is a result of his life at home with his young family. He, like many other aging rock stars, married a girl much younger and started another family. This seems to invigorate and renew people in music and with good reason surely. When you have young kids your entire life changes and with that, your motivation for success revolves around them. The entire album is about his relationship with his other half and his children. I found his words to be very touching while also validating in my life as well. Being a father of two young children makes it easy to understand his viewpoint.
After each listen to this CD, it grew on me, for both the meaning and the music. The music is a vigorous combo of blues, rock and pop, and very well produced. The people that perform on the album are an impressive cast-Billy Preston, Doyle Bramhall II, Steve Winwood, Vince Gill and more. Clapton does not need this kind of talent to support him but it never hurts to get the cream of the crop to come out a play with the king of the hill. Clapton can still play up a storm and belt out a song with as much feeling and emotion as he ever has. This solid album has an array of styles for listeners to enjoy.
The title track leads off with a catchy hook filled rhythm that sets you up nicely for the rest of the tracks. All of the trademark blues-rock licks are plentiful throughout the album. "Say What You Will" has "I Shot The Sheriff" reggae sound while "Lost and Found" brings the house down. It sizzles with bursts of energy and enthusiasm; it is the kind of Clapton song that you want to hear and entire album of. That does not happen because there are too many references to tenderness and love of family and the rockin’ style just would not fit some of lyrics. This all works very well though, as his diversity and control of his phrasing and guitar work highlight the album from start to finish.
This is Eric Clapton 2005; do not expect the all blues or Derek and The Dominoes sound from this album. He has aged very well and obviously he has an entirely different outlook on life today then what he had 20 years ago and his music is a direct manifestation of that. Blues purists will scoff at this recording and wonder where the great bluesman is, well, he still with us, its just a little more deep emotionally with some more pop gloss spread around to make it more accessible.