Eric Clapton - Pilgrim 
Music Disc Reviews Audio CD
Written by Jerry Del Colliano   
Tuesday, 10 March 1998

Pilgrim, Reprise Records
| Performance 7 | Sound 8 |

I grew up copying the guitar rifts of Eric Clapton. From his early work with The Yardbirds to the super group Cream to his prolific solo career, Eric Clapton has always had a style, sound and finesse that no one else could quite capture.

Clapton didn't start playing the guitar until he was in his late teens, however over the years he has developed into an irrefutable blues man. He has beaten a heroin addiction and has suffered the loss of his young child to a tragic death. Although he composed the soundtrack for the motion picture Rush, performed with Babyface, and invented 'MTV Unplugged' as we know it, since his traumatic loss, Eric Clapton has not released a new studio record; until Pilgrim.

Pilgrim is a very introspective record, featuring very heartfelt lyrics. Clapton scored a hit single with the amazing song "Tears From Heaven" and has followed it up with another cut dedicated to his son in "River of Tears." The first single from Pilgrim is "Broken Hearted," a down tempo cut displaying a much more mature Clapton sound and featuring what sounds to be a keyboard sample from Zamfir, King of the Pan Flute.

Pilgrim is a recording which shows that Eric Clapton has become more messenger than guitar God and, I admit it, I miss the guitar God. Pilgrim just never gets me there even though the recording is great, the songs are carefully produced and lyrically complex. Perhaps it is the down tempo feel of the record, but I feel like Pilgrim is a let down after eight years of waiting for a new record. I am not saying 'slowhand' doesn't still have it in him to crank out amazing, cool, hit songs; I'm sure he can. What I am saying is that you just won't find these songs on Pilgrim.

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