Eric Clapton's successful '05 Cream reunion spurred the rock legend to revisit a less-heralded, if more personally inspiring muse from the musician's past, Oklahoma country-blues savant J. J. Cale. While Cale's ambling, laid-back ethos became a touchstone of Clapton's early solo career via hit covers of "Cocaine" and "After Midnight," this marks the first true collaboration between the laid back Okie blues man and the English guitar god he's so deeply influenced. The album's billing is more than alphabetical: 11 of the tracks are distinctive Cale originals while the acoustic folk of Clapton's "Three Little Girls" mines familiar pop territory, guest John Mayer contributes the jaded "Hard to Thrill" and the veteran duo turn in a languorously winning cover of "Sporting Life Blues." The signature Cale/Clapton sound makes "Danger" and the single "Ride the River" feel like familiar old friends, while the shuffling "Missing Person" and "When the War is Over" evoke even deeper American roots. Clapton's ever lyrical, restrained fretwork here is a stark contrast to his fiery Cream grandstanding, underscoring the truly collaborative musical partnership at the heart of one Clapton's warmest, most satisfying modern releases.