Clapton Documents the Blues in New Album

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Clapton Documents the Blues in New Album

The legendary British guitarist Eric Clapton has certainly prompted innumerable numbers of fans to take up guitar lessons. But it is also likely that he has driven many to frustration and disappointment over the reality that they will never be able to equal the musician's virtuoso skills and range. This venerable legend of guitar players is ready to again take on the world with his new album, "Reptile," scheduled to be released Tuesday.

His first solo album since 1998's "Pilgrim," the album's title is allegedly taken from a term used in his hometown to refer to other folks. With this new release, Eric Clapton seems to be reflecting on his life and attempting to arrange the history of blues music since the 1950s. Though he has continuously tested himself in many different musical genres, his roots remain in the blues. Last year, his collaborative album, "Riding With the King," with blues legend B.B. King proved to be a quintessential work reflecting the musician's first and original love.

This time around, Clapton's album will feature several covers, such as "Ain't Gonna Stand for It" by Stevie Wonder and "Come Back Baby" by Ray Charles, as well as original compositions. Clapton's flair for interpretation assures listeners that the covers are not mere imitations. Instead, Clapton has created a whole new sound with his versions. And although the musician's own compositions on the album are rooted in blues music, he also experiments with other musical genres, successfully merging jazz and Latin music for example.

Among Clapton's compositions, "Reptile," the title instrumental track that opens the album, is invigorated with a joyous bossa nova rhythm. In "Believe in Life" and "Modern Girl," Clapton treats his listeners to the natural and consistent performances he has come to be known for, devoid of overindulgent technique or excessive flair. The back up vocals contributed by a male vocal group, the Impressions, on "Find Myself" lends the song a superb harmonious sound.

Eric Clapton's popularity surged in Korea after the 1992 release of his song "Tears in Heaven," a tribute to his four-year-old son who tragically died in a fall from a high-rise apartment window. Many Koreans were deeply moved by the heartfelt mourning of a father over his lost son. On his new album, the song "Son and Sylvia," dedicated to an uncle who passed away last year, will once again touch listeners and leave a lasting impression.

Very few, if any, would disagree that Eric Clapton is a consummate musician who has influenced fans from around the world with his lyrical breadth and impressive guitar skills. With a long history of success and accolades, it is especially noteworthy in that he has not rested on his laurels but has continued to create music that is both timeless and innovative, constantly challenging himself and proving over and again his chameleon-like range.

by Choe Jae-hee

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