Clapton has fully completed the transformation from elder blues statesman to professional musicologist.

Eric Clapton
Old Sock
Bushbranch Records

"Gotta Get Over" from Old Sock

Eric Clapton doesn’t need to make a new album. His vast back catalog—although not without its ups and downs—speaks for itself. With Old Sock, Clapton has fully completed the transformation from elder blues statesman to professional musicologist that started with 2010’s Clapton. This doesn’t mean Clapton has turned his back on his roots (I’ve yet to hear a note that isn’t influenced by the three Kings), but I wonder if this jazz-crooner direction is merely a phase or Clapton’s newfound voice.

Instead of cranking out his trademark blues-rock, Clapton focuses more on the groove and pays tribute to his various influences. Songs by Taj Mahal, J.J. Cale, George Gershwin, Peter Tosh, and Gary Moore surround two originals, and you need to search the nooks and crannies of these songs to find that Slowhand fire.

The most “Claptonian” track is “Gotta Get Over.” From the opening Dominos-inspired riff to the gospel-influenced chorus, this is when Clapton really shines. He not only rips out a solo but also plays some of the tastiest fills this side of the Cook County Jail. It might make some aficionados’ top 10 EC studio albums list, but I’m hoping Old Sock is just a stylistic detour before we get a sequel to From the Cradle.

Must-hear track: Gotta Get Over

How jangle, glam, punk, shoegaze, and more blended to create a worldwide phenomenon. Just don’t forget your tambourine.

Intermediate

Beginner

  • Learn genre-defining elements of Britpop guitar.
  • Use the various elements to create your own Britpop songs.
  • Discover how “borrowing” from the best can enrich your own playing.
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When considering the many bands that fall under the term “Britpop”–Oasis, Blur, Suede, Elastica, Radiohead’s early work, and more–it’s clear that the genre is more an attitude than a specific musical style. Still, there are a few guitar techniques and approaches that abound in the genre, many of which have been “borrowed” (the British music press’ friendly way of saying “appropriated”) from earlier British bands of the 1960s, ’70s, and ’80s.

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"'If I fall and somehow my career ends on that particular day, then so be it," Joe Bonamassa says of his new hobby, bicycling. "If it's over, it's over. You've got to enjoy your life."

Photo by Steve Trager

For his stylistically diverse new album, the fiery guitar hero steps back from his gear obsession and focuses on a deep pool of influences and styles.

Twenty years ago, Joe Bonamassa was a struggling musician living in New York City. He survived on a diet of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and ramen noodles that he procured from the corner bodega at Columbus Avenue and 83rd Street. Like many dreamers waiting for their day in the sun, Joe also played "Win for Life" every week. It was, in his words, "literally my ticket out of this hideous business." While the lottery tickets never brought in the millions, Joe's smokin' guitar playing on a quartet of albums from 2002 to 2006—So, It's Like That, Blues Deluxe, Had to Cry Today, and You & Me—did get the win, transforming Joe into a guitar megastar.

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