Back Home

Studio Album by released in 2005

Back Home review

The idea of Eric Clapton going Back Home is appealing. Perhaps, he's referring to his longstanding passion for the blues. Or he could mean his sleek rock side. But, then again, he could be thinking of his slick pop phase. Judging by this new album, Clapton seems to define "home" as all of the above and even more. Recorded around the same time as Me and Mr. Johnson, his best selling collection of Robert Johnson songs, Clapton's first recording of (mostly) original material since 2001's Reptile is a combination of solo compositions, covers, and collaborations with writing partner Simon Climie. Backing musicians include John Mayer (guitar), Blind Faith mate Steve Winwood (synthesizer), and longtime associate Billy Preston (keyboards), whose expertise with the Hammond B3 shines brightest on the Vince Gill co-written One Day.

Back Home is Eric Clapton in a good mood, filled with upbeat toe-tappers about hearth and home (a young child even puts in a cameo on So Tired). Blues-rock (Lost and Found), reggae (Revolution), and R&B (The Spinners' Love Don't Love Nobody) mingle comfortably with laid-back pop (George Harrison's Love Comes to Everyone). At sixty, Clapton is deeply grateful to be sober and settled; the specter of his four-year-old son Conor's tragic death in 1991 (the subject of his 1992 ballad Tears in Heaven) lends weight to the celebrations of "the sweet, simple moments" of family life in the title track and Run Home to Me. Eric Clapton produces twelve songs alongside Simon Climie, who co-produced five. These two also wrote the debut single for the album entitled Revolution, a sinuous reggae shuffle, where Clapton and his deft band burn off Back Home's polish and heat the track to a seductive simmer. Back Home also includes a rendition of Stevie Wonder and Syreeta Wright's I'm Going Left.

There was a time when Eric Clapton was a guitar god. Too bad his latest albums had reduced him to minor deity. However, Back Home is, for the most part, a much-appreciated return to form: stirring up the loose, laid-back form from now-classic albums Money and Cigarettes and Behind the Sun. Back Home is an excellent album, which integrates a terrific blend of blues-pop, reggae, R&B, and regular pop. It is sure to please fans of Mr. Clapton's work, especially those in search of material that is relatively new and original. The supporting cast of performers in combination with the solid production shows that Eric Clapton is nothing less than a talented musical artist. With this album three-time Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and 16-time Grammy winner Clapton finds his way home with another modern classic.