This is a very good tribute to the great JJ Cale. It is a little variable in quality but overall is a fine album of JJ's songs, covered with genuine respect and affection by some great musicians who liked and admired him.
As the title suggests, Eric Clapton is the backbone of this album. He appears as either guitarist, singer or both on all the tracks and is excellent throughout. He captures the spirit of JJ in both his vocals and in his guitar work, which is quite some feat. Cale was a very fine guitarist indeed under all the relaxed-sounding cool, with a subtlety of touch that only genuine masters like Clapton can come close to emulating. He puts in fine performances here and he makes this the very good album it is.
Other guests perform with varying success: Tom Petty is brilliant on both Same Old Blues and The Old Man & Me, and Mark Knopfler is (as always) unmistakeably himself which works fantastically well on Someday. It is great to hear Christine Lakeland on backing vocals in the lovely closer Crying Eyes. Willie Nelson is, of course, just Willie Nelson, which I think is absolutely great on Songbird and absolutely awful on Starbound, and John Mayer is OK but just a bit lacklustre.
This is an album of excellent music played by fine musicians and is generally a very successful collaboration. It is also right and proper that a genuine, quality tribute should be paid in this way to JJ Cale. There is enough excellence here for me to round 4.5 stars up to 5, despite the odd blip. My only question is - will I play this in preference to my dearly loved, scratchy old vinyl originals? Possibly not: Naturally, Okie, Shades and others are still magnificent albums which I still play very regularly, and I can't really see me playing this in preference to them very often. Nevertheless, this album is still very well worth having - it has some terrific music-making on it and it's a fine tribute to a truly great man. Recommended.