Joined by a stellar group of musicians, music icon, Bobby Whitlock and wife, CoCo Carmel, have released a new CD, appropriately titled “Lovers” for Valentine’s Day. The ten tracks, recorded and produced mostly in Austin, TX chronicle the life and times of one of music’s remarkable couples. According to Carmel, “We have literally had this project in the making for the past four years—it is our story, and "Layla" is really a tribute. I’m proud to be part of this experience.”
Whitlock tips his songwriting hat to former band mate, Eric Clapton with a gripping remake of the classic Derek and the Dominos, “Layla.” Whitlock also finished “Dear Veronica,” a tribute to Veronica Lake that he and Clapton began writing, but never completed during the “Layla” sessions, nearly thirty-eight years ago.
Joined on this recording by Willie Nelson, Stephen Bruton, David Grissom, Eric Johnson, Brannen Temple, and James Fenner, Whitlock and his wife, CoCo, weave a musical tapestry with golden threads collected during a lifetime of living the music that they write. Listening to this recording takes you back to a time when really listening to music lifted a person off to other places, giving glimpses of inspiring scenes, and exciting, emotional lives.
Whitlock’s powerful voice is stronger than ever, appearing to have mellowed, becoming even richer with time. The lyrics, written almost entirely by Whitlock and Carmel, are nearly embarrassingly voyeuristic; as if the listener is eavesdropping on a couple so much in love that they glow.
The guitar work blended into this recording is genius, born of the classic guitar album of all time, “Layla.” Whitlock’s voice begs for the emotion, and counterpoint of crying guitars and horns punctuating the lyrics, and always has; “Best Days of Our Lives” is a perfect example of this. Carmel’s string and horn arrangements add raw emotion to material such as “One Voice” and the charismatic remake of “Layla.” It is hard to believe that some of the notes that Carmel plays actually live in a saxophone.
It has been an honor and privilege to have been allowed glimpses of the creative genius that has now come to fruition with Lovers. It has not always been easy for Whitlock and Carmel on their musical journey, but it helps that they are lovers.