By Jim Johnson

Eric Clapton‘s love for the music of J.J. Cale culminates today in the release ofEric Clapton & Friends: The Breeze, An Appreciation of JJ Cale. The tribute album features Mark Knopfler, Tom Petty, Willie Nelson, Derek Trucks and others. They helped Clapton cut 16 of Cale’s songs, including “Call Me the Breeze,” which was a hit for Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Clapton says his goal in putting the album together was to have others “tap into what J.J. Cale did. I’m just the messenger; I’ve always felt that’s my job. I try to interpret things so that the public at large, or at least the people who listen to what I do, will become intrigued about where I got it from.”

Clapton says he came up with the idea for the album last July, on his way to the funeral for Cale, who died on July 26th, 2013 of a heart attack. He was 74.

Eric Clapton on how his first encounter with the music of J.J. Cale came via Delaney Bramlett of Delaney and Bonnie:

Eric Clapton on his first meeting with J.J. Cale in the mid-’70s:


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