- Associated Press - Monday, March 11, 2013

Eric Clapton, “Old Sock” (Bushbranch/Surfdog Records)

Imagine a jam session at Eric Clapton’s house. He’s not likely to trot out “Layla” for the 3,478th time. Instead, he and pals with names like Paul McCartney, Chaka Khan and Steve Winwood would probably deep dive into a tasty bag of cover tunes that inspires and delights them.

Such is the cozy feel one gets listening to “Old Sock,” Slowhand’s 21st studio album and his first on his own Bushbranch record label. Recording primarily with three other musicians, Clapton gives the Gershwin Brothers’ “Our Love Is Here to Stay” a sultry, bluesy feel, while Winwood’s Hammond B3 Organ-dominated “Still Got the Blues” takes the Gary Moore classic into roller skate rink territory _ and delightfully so. Both Taj Mahal’s “Further on Down the Road” and Peter Tosh’s “Till Your Well Runs Dry” boast unsurprising reggae tinges.

Clapton’s guitar wizardry is understated but elegant here, especially on the lilting “Angel” and the muscular “Gotta Get Over,” one of the intimate set’s two originals.

This “Old Sock” wears well.

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