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LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 03: Eric Clapton performs on stage during Music For The Marsden 2020 at The O2 Arena on March 03, 2020 in London, England.

Eric Clapton’s next album, The Lady in the Balcony: Lockdown Sessions will be a stripped-down effort where he revisits some of his biggest songs, not unlike his legendary MTV Unplugged. 

Clapton recorded the album with frequent collaborators Nathan East (bass and vocals), Steve Gadd (drums) and Chris Stainton (keyboards); they performed acoustic renditions of Clapton standards and an assortment of other numbers encompassing blues, country and rarified originals.

The album, produced by Russ Titelman, was recorded live in West Sussex, England. Clapton does new versions of “After Midnight,” “Layla,” “Bell Bottom Blues,” “Tears in Heaven,” “Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out” and “Key to the Highway.” He also covers two Peter Green-era Fleetwood Mac tracks: “Black Magic Woman” and “Man of the World.”

According to a press release, the project was initiated as the result of the forced cancellation of Eric Clapton’s concerts scheduled for May 2021 at the Royal Albert Hall due to the continued disruption caused by the pandemic. Clapton and his band took to the English countryside and staged a concert in the presence of only the participants themselves while letting the cameras roll. Clapton’s wife Melia, the sole outside observer inspired the Sessions title. The mostly acoustic set was envisioned to be like an “Eric Clapton Unplugged II,” although some songs were played with electric guitars.

The Lady in the Balcony: Lockdown Sessions will be out in November. The press release announcing the album made no mention of a tour. But in July, Clatpon issued a statement saying he will not play any venues that require proof of vaccination against COVID-19. In June, he said his opinions have led him to be “ostracized” by his friends and family.

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