UPDATE: iTunes is now streaming Clapton’s album on First Play.
Eric Clapton is at the helm of two new collaborative tracks from The Breeze, his upcoming tribute to the late blues legend, JJ Cale, “Train to Nowhere” and “Don’t Wait,” both of which premiered Tuesday on Guitar World and Billboard, respectively.
On the swinging “Don’t Wait,” Clapton trades solos with John Mayer and the two double up on vocal duties as well, creating some dry, near-harmonies that manage to both belie and behoove the track’s good-times-roll vibe.
Meanwhile, Clapton joins forces with Mark Knopfler and Don White for a steady-chugging rendition of “Train to Nowhere,” which interweaves the trio’s vocals, dueling guitars and the far-off wail of a harmonica. You can also check out Clapton’s version of “Cajun Moon” and Cale’s classic rambling anthem, “Call Me the Breeze,” both of which premiered on Rolling Stone earlier this week.
Knopfler and Mayer are among a slew of guests set to appear on The Breeze: An Appreciation of JJ Cale, which sees release on July 29th and includes appearances by Tom Petty, Willie Nelson, Derek Trucks, Christine Lakeland, Albert Lee and more.
Clapton has recorded a number of Cale songs throughout his career — including “After Midnight” and “Cocaine” — and even had the guitarist join him on a rendition of “Angel” for his 2013 album, Old Sock. Clapton told Billboard he and Cale cut a number of other tracks, which he plans to release on future albums after they’re finished and if he can get permission from Cale’s estate.
Clapton conceived The Breeze while poring over Cale’s music on his flight from London to Los Angeles to attend the musician’s funeral last summer. During a recent interview with Rolling Stone he spoke about the early stages of the album, as well as Cale’s influence on his own music: “When I started talking about this album with Dave Kaplan, who runs [Clapton’s label] Surfdog, he had only heard the JJ songs that I covered. In Europe, we heard JJ as Americana; all the roots put together. JJ was very self-critical [and] dismissive about his gifts. He was happy to just be known as a songwriter. 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.”